L.A.’s massive golfing year is officially underway (with plenty more to come)

Riviera Country Club.

Riviera Country Club is in the spotlight this week — and for the next decade.

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — It was Monday of Genesis Invitational week — Riviera Week! — but across the 405, a cadre of top pros flocked to another golf course just a few miles east.

Tiger Woods was among the pros taking advantage of a day in the area to scout L.A. Country Club’s North Course, host site for this year’s U.S. Open. He trekked around with a golf cart and a putter, making plans for June. Woods was photographed stopping for a chat with Adam Scott. Defending champ Matthew Fitzpatrick was on property, too, as were a half-dozen others on exploratory missions.

Once Monday was through they’d turn their attention to this week’s task: prepping for one of the biggest events on the PGA Tour calendar. But the split was a reminder that this is a big, big year for L.A. golf. Let’s break it down:

The elevated Genesis makes its debut

The Genesis Invitational was already a “designated event” before we had a name for such things. The storied history of the L.A. Open, its Invitational status, the players’ love for Riviera and the draw of tournament host Tiger Woods are a pretty unbeatable combination.

Adam Scott, who won here in 2021, described this as his “favorite stop on Tour” and always has it circled on his calendar. “This tournament, the last several years, has certainly had that elevated feel about it,” he said.

But this year’s Genesis received what is essentially a double boost: First from the Tour’s new designated event programming, which raised the purse from $12 million to $20 million and brought 19 of the top 20 players in the world ranking to L.A.

“I mean, it’s good to be here this week, yes,” Scott said.

The second boost comes from Woods’ participation in the event. While the Tour has plenty of intriguing storylines — the Scheffler-McIlroy-Rahm battle for No. 1 currently chief among them — there’s still no draw that can compare to that of Tiger Woods trying, once again, to climb the mountain. City of Stars, indeed.

Woods says he’s here to win; that’s the only way he ever approaches a tournament. But just the fact that he’s participating ensures increased interest in the action from Pacific Palisades.

The National Championship returns to L.A.

It’s not as though the USGA has been ignoring Los Angeles; Riviera hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2017 and the U.S. Open was hardly on the other side of the world when it was contested a couple hours south at Torrey Pines in 2021 or a road-trip north at Pebble Beach in 2019.

But there will be an extra dash of Hollywood at this year’s Open, with LACC making its major championship debut and ushering in the area’s first U.S. Open since 1948 (!).

Like Riviera, LACC is a George Thomas design. Like Riviera, it was an L.A. Open host, though not since 1940. Southern California native Max Homa explained on Wednesday that like Riviera, LACC begins with a handshake par 5 before a brutish test that follows.

“I feel that’s a pretty cool architectural nuance, I look at 18 holes at times on these beautiful greatly designed courses like a story and a movie and I think it’s the first act of a movie. I thought that was a cool thing that he did,” Homa said.

Fitzpatrick described the course where he’ll defend his title as “very rugged.” Other pros who have visited describe a course that can stretch to extreme length, including par 3s that can approach 300 yards. (Another par 3, the 15th, could play as short as 78 yards.) A 2010 restoration by Gil Hanse — working in conjunction with Jim Wagner and Geoff Shackelford — prepped the course for its 2023 close-up.

The LPGA Double

The LPGA is doubling down — literally — on its Los Angeles golf presence with two updated tournament commitments.

At the end of March, pros will take to Palos Verdes Golf Club to play in the DIO Implant L.A. Open. PVGC highlights the scenic coastline of southwest Los Angeles County from up above. (We played its younger muni brother, Los Verdes, last month.)

The LPGA will return to L.A. at the end of April for the new JM Eagle L.A. Championship. It’s a new event, technically, and a new sponsor — but it’s at a familiar host course, Wilshire Country Club, the site of last year’s L.A. Open.

Until the L.A. Open returned to the schedule in 2018, the LPGA had lacked a presence in the area for a decade. Not anymore.

The Future

It’s a good thing we love Riviera, because we’re gearing up to see a whole lot more of it.

The 2026 U.S. Women’s Open will head to Riv, marking the centennial celebration of the course. The 2028 Olympic men’s and women’s golf competitions will be played at Riv, too. There have been murmurs of the U.S. Open coming to Riv in 2031.

This summer won’t be our last look at LACC North, either: it’s slated to host the U.S. Women’s Open in 2032.

Really, an epic decade of Los Angeles golf awaits. But we’ll take it one week at a time — and that begins on Thursday.

You can see our trek through Los Angeles’ public golf scene in the video below.

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