Tiger Woods misses Tiger Jam in Las Vegas for first time

Updated May 31, 2017 - 10:39 pm

At the time, Tiger Woods not attending the 19th annual Tiger Jam in Las Vegas two weeks ago didn’t seem like big news because of his recent back surgery. But then came his arrest on suspicion of DUI in Florida a week after the event, and his absence grew more intriguing.

While no official statement was given as to why Woods missed the event that raises funds for his foundation, it seemed fair to assume that rehabilitating his back should be the main focus. In a blog released a few days after Tiger Jam, Woods wrote about not attending and also the status of his health.

“I heard so many great things about Tiger Jam,” Woods wrote. “It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year, and it’s the first time I couldn’t attend. Special thanks to MGM Grand and to all my friends who pitched in to make Tiger Jam a big success.

“It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years. … My surgeon and physiotherapist say the operation was successful. It’s just a matter of not screwing up and letting it fuse. I’m walking and doing my exercises, and taking my kids to and from school.

“All I can do is take it day by day. There’s no hurry. But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again. Presently, I’m not looking ahead. I can’t twist for another 2 1/2 to three months. Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me. I am concentrating on short-term goals.”

Tiger Jam has raised about $20 million for his charity. He and his father, Earl, had the vision for the foundation. While Tiger Jam was happening without him, Woods tweeted about how proud he was of Adrian Arias, the first Earl Woods Scholar who recently received a law degree from Ohio Northern University.

It would be a shame if his most recent legal trouble hindered the efforts of the foundation, but it’s up to Woods to again not only rehabilitate his back but also his image.

Rebels respect

UNLV coach Dwaine Knight praised members of his 2016-17 team after their appearance in the NCAA Golf Championships, which ended in the final eight after a narrow defeat to Vanderbilt, the nation’s top-ranked team.

“They just kept getting better throughout the season, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” Knight said. “They had an OK fall season, but then really put it together in the spring. They worked very hard and overcame a lot. They were ready to play and contend every week down the latter part of the season. I really love these guys, and it’s hard for it to be over because they were a very special group. They have my respect.”

The Rebels won the Mountain West tournament and the NCAA West Lafayette regional.

Oliver Cup

The historic Oliver Cup, named after longtime Nevada State Golf Association volunteer Lou Oliver, is being played this weekend at Las Vegas National with teams from the north and south competing.

Deal of the week

The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort players’ advantage card is on sale and offers discounts at the three Pete Dye courses throughout the summer.

Stars on, off course

Las Vegas Country Club head professional Jason Edmiston won the Las Vegas City Club Professional Championship last week. He shot rounds of 68-67 at Las Vegas National.

The golf notebook appears each Thursday. 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 bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider on Twitter.

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