The PGA TOUR announced today that the Tiger Woods Foundation will become the new host organization of the TOUR's historic tournament at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Tiger Woods, who grew up in the Los Angeles area and whose foundation is headquartered in nearby Irvine, California, is expanding his commitment to his native California by serving as the host and becoming actively involved in the tournament. The transition follows the recent announcement that Hyundai Motor America will become the tournament's title sponsor, also beginning with the 2017 event. PGA TOUR Championship Management has operated the tournament since 2009.
"Recognizing Tiger's ongoing connection to his home state through his foundation, we saw an opportunity to correspond the transition of the tournament operation with the new long-term sponsorship by Hyundai," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "With Hyundai Motor America also based in the Los Angeles area, we see this as a very positive move that further strengthens the local ties of the tournament. Further, with Tiger's personal involvement, we believe it will continue to elevate its stature on the PGA TOUR."
"This is a fantastic opportunity for my foundation," Tiger Woods said. "This is the first PGA TOUR event I ever played, and it means a lot to contribute to a community that has supported me and my foundation for more than 20 years. I'm committed to playing in my foundation's events, and it will be exciting to return to Riviera."
The Tiger Woods Foundation and Hyundai are aligning with one of the longest-running tournaments on the PGA TOUR. It debuted in 1926 at Los Angeles Country Club as the Los Angeles Open. The tournament was staged at various courses throughout the Los Angeles area before permanently settling at Riviera Country Club in 1973. Bubba Watson recently became the tournament's 90th champion and a two-time winner at Riviera, having also won in 2014.
"Together with Tiger and his foundation we will continue to make Los Angeles' signature golf event one of the best stops on the PGA TOUR," said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America. "Having such mutually strong ties to Southern California, Hyundai and the Tiger Woods Foundation are passionately committed to continuing the growth and charitable impact of the tournament and its connection to the local community in the years to come."
The LA-based tournament joins the Tiger Woods Foundation's current portfolio of PGA TOUR events, including Washington, D.C.'s Quicken Loans National and the Hero World Challenge, held at Albany in the Bahamas. As part of the PGA TOUR's ongoing refinements to the FedExCup, Championship Management will assume operations of the Deutsche Bank Championship beginning in 2017. The foundation, which has operated the event since 2013, plans to maintain its charitable commitment to the New England community through the Earl Woods Scholarship Program. Currently, there are 15 scholars from the New England region, and five more scholars will be welcomed into the program for the 2016-17 school year.
The TOUR and Hyundai Motor America, which is headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, announced Jan. 20 that Hyundai would be shifting its sponsorship from the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii to the Riviera Country Club tournament for the 2016-17 season. This followed an earlier announcement that Northern Trust, which has sponsored the Los Angeles event since 2008, will replace Barclays as title sponsor of the first FedExCup Playoff tournament held annually in the New York/New Jersey area. This change will also take place in 2017.
"On behalf of The Riviera Country Club, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Tiger Woods Foundation and Hyundai," said Michael R. Yamaki, corporate officer of The Riviera Country Club. "We at Riviera have always considered Tiger our hometown hero since his amateur days playing in the Los Angeles area. We have hosted the LA Open for over 50 years, and our past champions have been the who's who of golf. Now with Hyundai coming on board as the new title sponsor and the Tiger Woods Foundation serving as the host organization, the historic Riviera legacy continues."