SAN MARTIN -- A field with 10 major champions, including Vijay Singh and 2012 British Open winner Ernie Els, does not lack for star power.

And the incentive awaiting the 132 golfers playing the Frys.com Open at the CordeValle Golf Club this week -- $5 million in prize money and the opportunity to increase their chances for automatic berths in every PGA stop next season -- is nothing to sniff at.

But tournament president Duke Butler chose to look down the road Tuesday before focusing on this year.

"This tournament becomes a little more prominent each year," he said. "Frys has an excellent reputation for taking care of players and their families and the caddies. We believe we're growing relationships that will culminate in something fairly magnificent someday."

Butler is looking into the not-too-distant future when electronics magnate John Fry will have finished all the amenities at The Institute, the course in nearby Morgan Hill he constructed with an eye toward making it a regular PGA Tour stop.

But even before that, the Frys.com Open is stepping up from its status as one of four stops in the PGA fall series. Next year's tournament -- which will again be played at CordeValle -- will have more prestige as the opening stop on the 2013-14 tour. For the first time, players will earn FedEx Cup points.

Butler estimates 60,000 fans will head to the rolling hills south of San Jose over the next five days for this year's tournament, which also is honoring Bay Area golfing legend Ken Venturi. That's about 25,000 more than attended the Frys.com Open's 2010 debut at CordeValle but 15,000 fewer than came a year ago when Tiger Woods made his first appearance.

Larger crowds increase the size of the checks to the charitable groups that benefit from tournament proceeds, Butler noted, but bigger isn't always better for the sport's followers.

"The crowds are not as large on site," he said, "but that enables the fans to get up close and personal with the players."

So who are some of those top players this year?

  • Singh, whose $67.1 million earnings are the third most on the PGA all-time list, committed to the tournament less than two weeks ago. "He's had a little problem with his left knee, but it's getting better. He loves to play and practice," Butler said of Singh.

  • Els has ties to CordeValle through one of his sponsors, SAP. The German software company was founded by Hasso Plattner, who also owns CordeValle and a share of the NHL's Sharks. Els is bringing the Claret Jug, which he collected at Royal Lytham in July.

  • Davis Love III and Belgium's Nicholas Colsaerts bring fresh memories from the Ryder Cup that saw the United States team captained by Love squander a four-point lead in the final day and lose the match competition to Europe. Colsaerts, whose eight birdies and an eagle helped win the Friday four-ball competition, is hoping his winnings here will help him qualify for tour membership next season.

  • Luke Guthrie "might be the hottest player in the game right now," says Butler of the University of Illinois golfer who turned pro this summer as soon as his NCAA eligibility was up. Guthrie has won twice on the Web.com Tour and finished in the Top 20 in all three of his PGA Tour stops.

  • In addition to Singh, Els and Love, major champions in the field include John Daly, Angel Cabrera, Mike Weir, Ben Curtis, Trevor Immelman, Todd Hamilton and Justin Leonard.

  • All five past winners of the Frys.com Open will be competing -- defending champion Bryce Molder as well as Rocco Mediate, Troy Matteson, Cameron Beckman and Weir.

    Frys.Com Open

    Where: CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin
    When: Thursday-Sunday
    purse: $5 million.
    Winner's share: $900,000
    TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m.)