Tiger Woods brings star power back to Genesis Open at Riviera


PACIFIC PALISADES, California — In case you were wondering, Team Tiger won the inaugural Celebrity Cup.

Of course, no one at sun-splashed Riviera cared which team of A-listers ground out net birdies as part of the Genesis Open’s Monday kickoff. The day also included the fifth annual Collegiate Showcase (won by Kentucky’s Lukas Euler) and kicks off the 2019 Genesis hosted by the TGR Foundation.

The inaugural event provided a rare up-close opportunity to see major celebrities and elite athletes testing their golf skills in front of captains Tiger Woods and Fred Couples. More than anything, it was Woods and his TGR Live’s most significant effort yet to put the star power back into early week activities at Riviera, where the celebrity pro-am was once arguably the tournament’s most popular day back in the 1970s when the A-listers were James Garner, Peter Falk and host Glen Campbell.

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Hatched last September by TGR Live, Woods was able to draw athletes Reggie Bush, Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald. From the film and TV world, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Pratt, Luke Wilson, Oliver Hudson, Chris Harrison and Carson Daly all teed up, with Daly returning to the site of his 1988 Junior Club Championship and hearing plenty of jokes about that from his group.

Later additions to the lineup included megastar singers Kid Rock and Nick Jonas, who both showed flashes of golfing prowess.

While the Captains only served as first tee greeters and back-up putt-hitters at the par-3 14th, they seemed pleased with a day full of unknowns when it started.

“It’s very impressive,” said Couples, who was in his element bantering with Wahlberg at the 18th green about the star’s legendary diet and the recent wins over Wahlberg’s beloved Celtics by the Clippers and Lakers. Couples is a two-time winner at Riviera playing on a sponsor’s invitation this week.

For Tiger, the event expedites efforts to build out the Genesis Open thanks to a long-term commitment from the sponsor signed last year.

“We’re trying to make this event unique and we have a 10-year relationship with Genesis,” he said as Kid Rock sunk a tricky downhill putt at 18. “Ultimately having these guys come out and give their time — they don’t have to do this — it just makes this event so much more special. And we got lucky, the weather’s perfect.”

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