The tournament formerly known as the Los Angeles Open has undergone a transformation, debuting this week as the Genesis Invitational. As our Daniel Rapaport noted, the changes—a reduced field, increased purse and an extra year of tour exemption to the winner—are more functional than ornamental, as the Genesis still calls iconic Riviera C.C. home. Moreover, the West Coast stop's reputation for attracting some of the best early-season fields remains.
However, this year's event will be particularly star-studded, with nine of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking scheduled to tee it up (Webb Simpson, No. 7 in the latest ranking, is the lone holdout). If that sounds impressive, it is: According to the PGA Tour communications department, the Genesis has the most top-10 players in its field for a regular Tour event in 13 years.
For clarification, the majors, Players Championship, FedEx Cup Playoffs and World Golf Championships constitute non-regular events. The last tournament that boasted such a top-heavy slate was the 2007 Wachovia Championship, which featured each player in the World Top 10 that week.
The gathering of stars means a bevy of World Ranking points are on the line, giving the chance for either Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka or Jon Rahm to be World No. 1 by Sunday night. And for those seeking an omen, the 2007 Wachovia Championship was won by Tiger Woods, who bested Steve Stricker by two at Quail Hollow. Aside from serving as host of this year's Genesis, Woods is paired with Stricker (along with Justin Thomas) for Thursday and Friday rounds. Given Woods has infamously never won his hometown event, perhaps this is the juju he needs to finally tame Riviera.