Tiger Woods is set to return to golf at the Genesis Invitational, with the 15-time major champion also serving as host – and one player has secured an entry despite being snubbed for an invitation
Charley Hoffman earned a spot at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles after Tiger Woods was unable to offer an exemption for the veteran.
Last weekend, Hoffman enjoyed a terrific performance at the WM Phoenix Open with his play earning himself a start at the Genesis Invitational – a tournament he originally hadn’t been invited to play. The 47-year-old struggled last season as he made just 13 of 31 cuts and failed to record a top 10 finish as he finished 137th in the FedEx Cup standings.
As a result, Hoffman was forced to play this season on his top 50 career money exemption. He failed to finish in the top 40 in his first three starts of the year and entered this week ranked 300th in the world before agonisingly losing in a playoff to Nick Taylor on Sunday.
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He has done enough to enter the Genesis Invitational, which is impressive as entering Signature Events is difficult. There are eight such events which feature smaller fields and many without cuts, and while the prize pot is bigger, there are fewer spots for the likes of Hoffman to claim.
Hoffman had even made other plans, assuming he wouldn’t get in on his play after Woods denied him an exemption. When a reporter said he he had secured a spot via Aon Swing 5 eligibility, the veteran said: “Did it? That’s awesome. I’m excited about that. I guess I’m playing next week and not going skiing.”
He added: “A little inside story: I asked Tiger for an exemption and he said they’re all taken, so I said, ‘I’ll play my way in,’ so I guess I did.”
Hoffman clinched one of the five available spots from the events that included the Sony Open, American Express, Farmers Insurance Open and WM Phoenix Open. Grayson Murray, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Kevin Yu and Matthieu Pavon – who may be replaced by Justin Thomas – received the other four.
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Meanwhile, Woods is preparing to make his return to competitive golf as the 82-time PGA Tour winner entered into the Genesis Invitational. The 48-year-old, who is also hosting the tournament, has not featured on Tour since last December’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
The 15-time major champion has played a reduced schedule in recent years. In 2023, Woods featured just three times on Tour due to fitness issues, playing at the Genesis Invitational before returning for the Masters where he struggled and withdrew with an ankle injury.
Woods was forced to sit out the next eight months to recover before finally returning at the Hero World Challenge. His return at Riviera next week represents a new chapter in his career as Woods moves on from his iconic 27-year partnership with Nike Golf.
On Monday, Woods announced the launch of his new brand called ‘Sun Day Red’ (SDR) – a reference to the colour he wears on the final day of tournaments. He will hope it brings him good fortune as he looks to secure a first win on the PGA Tour since his 2021 car crash.