A stellar field featuring Tiger Woods and world No 1 Dustin Johnson is set to take on the Riviera Country Club as the Genesis Open tees off from 15-18 February.
Woods will be making his 11th start at his hometown venue, although it has proven to be an unhappy hunting ground.
‘I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to host and play in the 2018 Genesis Open at Riviera. Unfortunately, last year my back was in bad shape and I was unable to participate,’ said Woods.
‘What a difference a year makes. I had fusion surgery last April, and recently competed in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, my first full-field event in a year and only my second since August of 2015. I finished T23, and all in all, it was a very positive start.
‘It felt so good to be back with the guys and compete again. Words can’t describe how much I missed it. Most importantly, I was pain-free.’
Joining Els and Goosen in the field are compatriots Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel, who is making his first start on the PGA Tour this season.
Johnson defends this week after failing to get it done at Pebble Beach. Last year, this event launched him to three wins on the bounce before his fall prevented him from contending at The Masters.
There are nine previous winners in the field including Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointment is Rory McIlroy. After impressing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the Northern Irishman missed the cut at Pebble Beach as he struggled with his game. Fellow European Tour members Thomas Pieters (who shared runner-up honours last year as a sponsor exemption), 2017 Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, China’s Haotong Li – fresh off a win in Dubai – and Martin Kaymer have all made the trip to Riviera.
Despite the presence of a strong field, the main attraction is likely to be Woods.
‘The buzz surrounding this year’s Genesis Open is off the charts and for good reason,’ tournament director Mike Antolini said.
‘We’re all excited for Tiger’s return to Riviera for the first time in more than a decade. He’ll join a field of golf’s top young stars and established greats vying to become the next Genesis Open champion.’
2018 GENESIS OPEN FIELD:
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Charles Howell III
Billy Hurley III
Si Woo Kim
Ted Potter, Jr.
Tyrone Van Aswegen
Harold Varner III
Web.com Restricted Exemption*
Collegiate Showcase Winner*
**Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption
Photo: Getty Images