Tiger Jam returns to Las Vegas this weekend for the 19th consecutive year, a fundraiser that has raised more than $20 million for the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Several times in previous years, the state of Woods’ golf game had been a major part of the narrative surrounding the celebrity event. A month before last year’s Tiger Jam, Woods underwent back fusion surgery and didn’t attend the fundraiser for the first time.
Tiger’s absence became even more intriguing a few days later when he was arrested and charged with DUI near his home in Jupiter, Florida.
Woods is expected to attend Tiger Jam this year. He’s coming off an 11th-place finish at The Players Championship and has made eight of nine tournament cuts since December, including a runner-up finish at the Valspar Championship. His world ranking has improved from 1,199th to 80th.
“There’s no way I would have predicted I would be at this point the beginning of the year, the way I was just coming back and just trying to get a feel for it and then hopefully have a schedule,” Woods said Sunday after the final round of The Players. “I’m playing tournament golf, and I’m not that far off from winning golf tournaments.”
Tiger Jam features a poker night hosted by World Series of Poker star Phil Helmuth, golf at Shadow Creek hosted by Golf Channel’s Blair O’Neal, including a question-and-answer session with Woods, a private dinner and concert at the MGM Grand emceed by Chris Harrison, the host of “The Bachelor,” and a party at Topgolf Las Vegas.
Limited VIP tickets are available, and an auction is at tigerjam.com.
Tiger almost chose UNLV
Woods played at Stanford in 1995 and 1996, but almost came to UNLV. Rebels coach Dwaine Knight heavily recruited Woods, and many thought it was a foregone conclusion that the biggest high school recruit in golf history was going to tee it up for UNLV.
But a last-minute decision went against Knight, and Woods chose Stanford.
Golfweek Magazine recently relived the decision and included an interesting anecdote from a 2001 Golf Digest interview with Tiger’s late father, Earl.
“Before Stanford, he was also thinking about UNLV,” Earl Woods said. “If he had gone there, his golf capabilities would have continued to grow and develop, but actually, in college, they kind of just tapered off.”
The TPC Las Vegas Nevada resident summer pass is on sale for $725. The pass is good for 12 rounds, a free 15-minute swing analysis and 15 percent discount in the pro shop. Rounds may be shared with other residents.
Stars on, off course
Webb Simpson was dominant in his four-shot victory at The Players Championship. It was his first PGA Tour win since the 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin, where he won by six strokes.
The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at email@example.com or @LVGolfInsider.
Wednesday: UNLV men at NCAA Regionals, Columbus, Ohio
Friday, Saturday: Tiger Jam, MGM, Shadow Creek, Topgolf
Saturday, Sunday: Championship Girls/Boys Junior America’s Cup qualifier, Legacy
May 25: AJGA Junior-Am Fundraiser, Reflection Bay
May 26-28: AJGA Las Vegas Championship, Reflection Bay
May 28: 15th annual Foundation Assisting Seniors charity, Revere
May 28-31: Mesquite Amateur, CasaBlanca
June 5, 6: Big I Junior qualifier, Boulder Creek
June 10: SNGA Tour, Father/Son, Las Vegas National
June 11: United Way Benefit, Spanish Trail
What: AT&T Byron Nelson.
When: Thursday, Friday, 1-4 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, Sunday, 10-11:45 a.m. (Golf Channel), noon-3 p.m. (KLAS-8).
Where: Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas.
Defending champion: Billy Horschel.
PGA Tour Champions
What: Regions Tradition.
When: Thursday, Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Golf Channel). Saturday, Sunday, noon-2 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: Greystone Golf and Country Club, Birmingham, Ala.
Defending champion: Bernhard Langer.
What: Kingsmill Championship.
When: Thursday, Friday, 7:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sunday, 2-4 p.m. (Golf Channel).
Where: River Course at Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Va.
Defending champion: Lexi Thompson.