Tiger Woods' TGR Live to Host Genesis L.A. Open
Tiger to Play at Riviera
January 19, 2017
Tiger is back. Tiger Woods is back in Los Angeles and taking charge of the PGA Tours' 2017 Genesis Open from February 13-19 at the celebrated Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The official announcement was made on Monday, January 23 in the Grand Ballroom of the preeminent golf and tennis club.
"It is truly an honor to be back here and to come back to southern California again and to basically where I started playing professional golf," began Tiger.
"For me personally, I'll never forget that tee shot I hit when I was 16 years old because I've never felt a golf club that heavy in my life. And now to come back here some 25 years later, to come full circle and actually run this event is truly a very important and special moment in my life."
This will be the first time that TGR Live, the event management company supporting the Tiger Woods Foundation for the past 20 years, will oversee the event originally billed as the Los Angeles Open. Tiger is also committed to playing in the tournament for the first time since 2006.
The featured speakers at the press conference included Tiger, Mike Antolini – tournament director and vice president of championships for the Tiger Woods Foundation, Michael Yamaki - Riviera corporate officer, and Erwin Raphael – general manager of the Genesis brand in the United States.
Antolini started the proceedings: "We couldn't be prouder to help usher in the next era of tournament golf here at Riviera along with our new title sponsor, Genesis."
"The Genesis Open benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, which is headquartered in southern California. We are excited to deep even our impact in the local community through this tournament and advance our mission of championing break-through transformations for underserved youth through education."
Tiger: "My foundation is truly honored, truly a special moment... to have three Earl Woods scholars here, Kevin, Anita and Alicia to have them be here as an example of what we're trying to do for all our youth."
Yamaki, representing Riviera: "First of all, we are very excited to have Genesis here... you saw the car out there, it's incredible. It's got everything you would want in it. So thank you for being our title sponsor. Second, Tiger, it's good to have you back, man. It's been about 25 years, right, 25 years when you first got your first exemption here."
Woods played his very first PGA tournament at Riviera when it was the Nissan Open in 1992 as a 16-year old amateur out of Cypress, California. He shot impressive rounds of 72 and 75 before missing the cut. Tiger has subsequently reached legendary status by winning 79 official Tour events including 14 Major Tournaments.
Hyundai Motor Group (Genesis' auto manufacturer) is sponsoring the PGA Tour event for the first time. The inaugural Los Angeles Open was in 1926. Riviera Country Club hosted the event in 1929 and 1930. The tournament permanently returned to Riviera in 1973 except for 1983 and 1998 when the club hosted Major Tournaments.
"The Genesis Open, as you know, is one of the most prominent events on the PGA Tour. It's played by some of the world's best players. It is ranked annually by the players as one of the best courses right here at the Riviera Country Club and it features one of the strongest fields of the year," said Raphael of Genesis.
"We've teamed up with TGR Live and the Tiger Woods Foundation to deliver on the promise of giving golf fans a premium experience. And we're humbled to have Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of all times, serve as the tournament host today."
Woods on coming back to play Riviera after 10 years: "I've always loved playing Riv. I've just never played it well, so that's the only reason. I love playing here, I've played here as a junior, as an amateur, even as a professional... But this is a very special place and to come back here, I'm really looking forward to it."
"As far as the state of my game, I'm excited about playing this week. I feel like I'm playing well. I just needed to get some tournament rounds under my belt. I haven't played one tournament in the last what, 18 months, 16 months. So just need some tournament golf and I'm really looking forward to it."
Tiger is jumping right into 2017 with four tournaments scheduled in five weeks beginning this week with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Next comes the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in the United Arab Emirates followed by the Genesis Open and The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Ultimately, Tiger is preparing for The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia scheduled for April 6-9 this year. Woods was asked when he was going to make a decision to play at Augusta: "Now. I've been thinking about it. You know, once the season ends typically in the fall I start thinking about what I need to do to get ready for Augusta."
"Been that way for 20 years. So whether it's equipment or it's swing or whatever it is, in the back of my head I'm getting ready for Augusta. I would love to play. I would love to win. I've won it four times and hopefully I can add a fifth. As I said, I'm hoping to get everything right, so yes. I'm looking forward to it."
Woods on his health: "I've gone through some pretty tough lows going through my procedures on my back, and there were points in time when I didn't know if I could ever swing a golf club again, play with my kids, do all the activities."
"There were some pretty tough times and worked through it and to have also the good days and now to where I can compete again. I still have to go through a lot to for the rest of my life because of the procedures, but I'm able to get back out here and play."
Half of the world's top 30 golfers have committed to this year's Genesis Open so far: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson – 2016 L.A. Open (Northern Trust) winner, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker and J.B. Holmes.
Before concluding, Tiger spoke about the Tiger Woods Foundation and its commitment to giving students in need of the right resources to ensure lifelong success in school.
"Obviously we have a learning center here, we have our S.T.E.M. programs, they originate from here. So to have our golf tournament come back to Southern California..."
"Also, all the programs that benefit from this event are huge for us because we're trying to help not just thousands of kids, hundreds of thousands of kids, which we already have, but also millions."
"We can't do that unless we have events like this and sponsors like Genesis and tournament courses like Riviera and the players coming that are committed. We wouldn't have the ability to affect millions of kids' lives if we don't have the commitment."
Welcome back, Tiger. Welcome back.