Long one of the PGA Tour’s premier Wednesday pro-ams for luring A-list talent, the Genesis Open quietly stopped giving Angeleno’s what they love most: celebrity.
The Forecaddie remembers not long ago listening to basketball legend Jerry West, then serving as the tournament’s ambassador during the Northern Trust years, grousing about not getting to open his Rolodex. West wanted to lure new fans to PGA Tour golf by restoring the tournament’s Wednesday glory days. Names such as Michael Jordan and Jack Nicholson never got the call and the pro-am here became a buzzkill for fans.
Enter TGR Live and Tiger Woods.
The Man Out Front couldn’t help but notice the names attached to this year’s Genesis Open pro-am where any fan of sport, film and television will have someone to watch.
The biggest “get” is undoubtedly actor Mark Wahlberg, a Riviera member who teed up last year and loves his golf. Then there’s Cedric the Entertainer and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison, fresh off his AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am debut.
But it’s the sports fan who will get to see a little bit of everything, from legendary Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson, to the current team’s 6-foot-7 inch, 335-pound offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth. Former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush of USC is also teeing it up this year, as is current Detroit Lion Golden Tate.
For the older crowd, a pair of American sports icons are set to play Riviera Wednesday: boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and NBA legend Julius Irving.
Tournament organizers have also recruited L.A. native Troy Mullins, whose long drives will be offset by trick-shot artists Joshua Kelly and Kira Kazanstev.
As excited as TMOF is to see Genesis putting the L.A. back in the event formerly known as the L.A. Open, he would be remiss in failing to mention the biggest draw of all. He tees off at 9:40 a.m. Eastern Wednesday: Tiger Woods.