Genesis Open, run by Tiger Woods' foundation, receives 'elevated status'

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The annual PGA Tour event at Riviera Country Club that is now run by Tiger Woods' foundation will get a big upgrade beginning in 2020, putting it in the same status as tournaments associated with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The Genesis Open will receive "elevated status,'' which means it will have a significantly higher purse, offer a three-year PGA Tour exemption to the winner (up from two years) and will have an invitational field that will be reduced to 120 players. This week's tournament at Riviera will have 144 players.

The purse for the event will rise by $1.9 million over this year's event to $9.3 million in 2020, with the winner getting $1.674 million.

"To do it here where I grew up and to do it here where my entire career got started, couldn't ask for more of a symbolic outcome," Woods said during the official announcement Wednesday. "We're just so excited about this opportunity to showcase what we've done as a foundation for over 20 years, and this elevation status will certainly help that. It is going to help so many more kids' lives, and we're able to do that with a tournament like this.''

The Arnold Palmer Invitational, which the late golf legend founded in 1979 at this Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida, and the the Memorial Tournament, which Nicklaus began in 1976 at a course he designed near his Columbus, Ohio, home, are events that operate in a similar fashion.

Both have 120-player invitational fields with purses higher than a regular PGA Tour stop.

"It's going to give us a week and an opportunity every single year to reflect upon this man's staggering accomplishments on the golf course and his staggering philanthropic contributions," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said of Woods. "[It's] something that we're excited to tell the world for a long time to come.''

"I think it's a special moment in time when you think about a man that's won 80 times on the PGA TOUR, having an event that he hosts being elevated into the same realm as both two of his -- two golf icons and two of his legends and mentors, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.''

Woods' foundation, now known as TGR Foundation, has its roots in the Southern California area and is located in Anaheim. The Genesis Open, which dates to 1929 when it was the Los Angeles Open, is the nearest PGA Tour event to Woods' boyhood home in Orange.

With the help of his late father, Earl, Woods formed his own foundation early in his pro career, then started a tournament now known as the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas (it had been played in Southern California for most of its time) to help promote the foundation as well as raise funds for it.

What began as the AT&T National in Washington, D.C., in 2007, was originally meant to grow into the status of the Palmer and Nicklaus events. Formed as a tribute to the military along with raising funds for his foundation, Woods saw that tournament run into title sponsorship issues; it was not renewed after the 2018 event called the Quicken Loans National.