The Frys.com Open and its defending champion, Jonas Blixt of Sweden, have both grown in stature since their storybook romance a year ago.
The PGA Tour event, back at the CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin on Oct. 10-13, is now the first stop on the reconfigured 2013-2014 tour schedule, meaning the winner receives full FedExCup points and an invitation to the Masters. Previously, the Frys.com Open offered fewer FedExCup points and attracted weaker fields.
Blixt earned his first tour victory in the 2012 Frys.com Open as a tour rookie. Then he notched a second win at July's Greenbrier Classic, which clinched his ticket to the Masters. He also finished fourth in the PGA Championship and wound up 52nd in FedExCup Playoff points.
Blixt's star is on the rise, and it started in the South Bay.
"It was a huge milestone to get the first PGA win and to do it in such a beautiful place as CordeValle up there, it was fantastic," Blixt said Tuesday in a conference call. "To have my family there to support me at the time made it even more memorable. I couldn't be any happier about winning up there."
Frys.com Open officials announced that Presidents Cup International Team players Angel Cabrera, a two-time major winner who finished 63rd last year at CordeValle, Hideki Matsuyama and Marc Leishman will also participate in the tournament.
Blixt, a former Florida State star, has agreed to allow The First Tee of Silicon Valley to designate a guest caddie for him for the Frys.com Pro-Am on Oct. 9.
"That will be fantastic," said Blixt, who plans to give his guest caddy a shirt and a golf cap. "I'm all for growing the game like the PGA Tour does. I think the more people that get involved in the game maybe even better."
Not a long hitter, Blixt putted brilliantly at the 2012 Frys.com Open. He made 49 of 50 putts inside 10 feet during the last three rounds.
"It's just such a beautiful area," said Blixt, who played hockey in his native Sweden until age 18. "The golf course sets up great for my game. The greens are rolling, you get really good speed and there's nothing tricky with the Bermuda or anything. Sometimes you get on those rolls with your putter where everything kind of pours in. ... Sometimes the course just really fits your eye a lot."
Blixt says a big career goal is to make the European Ryder Cup team.
The Frys.com Open became a PGA Tour event in 2006 with the first two tournaments played in Las Vegas and the next three in Scottsdale, Ariz. The tournament moved to CordeValle in 2010.
The tournament recently invited Walker Cup players Max Homa, a former Cal star, and Justin Thomas to play on sponsor exemptions.