Celebrating Ten: Top 10 Moments of the Tiger Woods Invitational presented by USLI
In 2011, when TGR Live announced a brand-new charity golf event to be held on the Monterey Peninsula it was sure to be special. It would feature three days of golf at three of the top ranked golf courses in the country, including Pebble Beach Golf Links, curated dining, dynamic auctions and custom gifting, all while benefiting TGR Foundation. Pair all that with Tiger Woods hosting the invite-only event, the Tiger Woods Invitational took the golf world by storm.
The 2021 event will be the tenth edition of the Tiger Woods Invitational presented by USLI. Hailed as one of the top amateur golf events in the country, take a look back as we celebrate the top ten moments on and off the course.
1. Pros Showcase Their Skills
Guests attending the event expect an incredible experience. Each year Tiger delivers on that expectation with thousands of photos, hundreds of autographs, and countless questions answered. It is Tiger’s annual golf exhibition that sets things apart as Tiger showcases his warm-up routine and swing thoughts, hits dozens of balls and shapes shots all while telling amazing insider stories. To top it off, Tiger has been helped by friends on the PGA TOUR. In 2015, former Masters winner Fred Couples performed a special golf exhibition and Q&A session with many memorable stories of his hall of fame career. PGA TOUR champion Kevin Chappel joined Tiger on the range in 2017 as they alternated hitting shots and interacting with guests.
2. Golf Luminaries Take Center Stage
In addition to PGA TOUR champions sharing their skills on the range, numerous special guests from the golf world have been a part of the event. In 2015, putting guru and teacher to the pro’s, Dave Stockton, met with every guest providing personalized putting instruction. Each guest also received an autographed copy of his book, Unconscious Putting. In 2014, three-time PGA TOUR champion Pat Perez joined Golf Channel’s Steve Sands on-stage at Monday’s welcome reception for an exclusive Q&A session that entertained guests with behind the scenes stories from life on tour. Former European Tour pro Jean Van de Velde and Golf Channel’s Kira Dixon have emceed the annual Glow Golf competition in the past.
3. Sports and Entertainment Come Together
The star-studded guest list doesn’t stop with PGA TOUR stars, the Invitational has had its share of special guests from the world of sports and entertainment. Sports business legend and TGR Foundation board member, Peter Ueberoth welcomed guests to the inaugural event in 2011 and he joined Tiger on stage for a unique panel discussion in 2018 to discuss all things Tiger Woods, Pebble Beach and TGR Foundation’s impact. Alonzo Mourning was a regular player in the early years of the event and in 2012 shared incredible insight into his NBA career, sports and charity with a memorable Q&A with the late Stuart Scott of ESPN. Other notables to have played include tennis great Andy Roddick and TV personality Chris Harrison.
4. Golf In The Dark
The entertainment off the course at the Tiger Woods Invitational has been as memorable golf. With golf at the event’s core, the annual Glow Golf competition is a highlight that you have to be part of the event to experience. Each guest has the opportunity take a shot, in the dark, from the lawn of The Lodge onto 18 green of Pebble Beach Golf Links. Making this shot even more special is the beat-the-pro dynamic where guests try to get inside the pro’s shot on the green. Tiger is a regular at teeing off the competition and has been joined by special guests over the years.
5. Ping Pong with an Olympian
Every golfer has a competitive spirit and the team format of the Tiger Woods Invitational brings out that drive to win the crystal trophy each year. When an Olympic athlete attends the event and drops a personal challenge to take them down in their sport, everyone takes notice, including Tiger. Professional table tennis star and two-time Olympian, Lily Zhang, was the star of Tuesday’s reception at The Lodge in 2016 and 2017, challenging Tiger and guests to intense games of table tennis in the Library Room of The Lodge.
6. Tuesday’s Full of Fun
In addition to Olympic-level table tennis, Tuesday’s reception has developed into a favorite of the guests. The casual evening caps off a great second day of golf with sunset views over Pebble’s 18 green and the Monterey Bay. Unique entertainment options surprise guests each year such as glow in dark Skee Ball and a life-size chess board on the lawn, shuffleboard and a caricature artist in The Lodge and various forms of live music. In 2013, poker legend Phil Helmuth hosted and played in a charity poker tournament with guests to benefit TGR Foundation.
7. Food In Focus
To fuel up for three days of golf and to keep up with the endless entertainment, guests are well fed throughout the event. Over the years, first-timers and regulars are wowed with signature food items such as The Lodge’s famous Tap room chili, Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s lobster corn dogs, wood-fired pizza at the turn, chef carved Tomahawk steaks and Pebble’s infamous coconut cake to top it off. The Welcome Dinner hosted by Tiger has become the signature dining moment each year, with a curated menu crafted by The Lodge’s executive chef, Ben Brown, featuring locally sourced foods and only the freshest ingredients.
8. A 19th Hole Unlike Any Other
An incredible dinner can only be amplified when paired with fine wine. Since 2011, the Tiger Woods Invitational has featured only the finest wines from Napa Valley’s Far Niente. The event has featured Far Niente’s signature cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay in addition to newer varietals from sister wineries Nickel & Nickel and En Route. Their iconic Dolce dessert wine is served every year to cap off the annual dinner at the Beach Club. Following the second day of golf, guests are greeted with perfectly poured wines on the range, providing the perfect beverage and backdrop for the 19th hole, Tiger Woods Invitational style.
9. Name Your Club
The gifting experience at the event has added to the pro-style experience. In 2018, guests were welcomed to Spyglass Hill Golf Course with an invitation to get custom fitted for TaylorMade wedges courtesy of USLI. Each guest not only was fitted, they were able to choose their own personalized stamp for the wedge. Nightly room drops also await guests with a few favorites being a MARTIN woven shirt and suede reversible vest in 2015 and a STITCH UGB travel bag that converts to a full-size garment bag in 2017. Upon arrival each year, players are outfitted with the latest Nike Golf gear, and in 2014 the gear included Tiger’s latest Nike shoe.
10. Putting for a Purpose
Through all the competitive golf, food and fun at the Tiger Woods Invitational, everything is done in the name of raising funds for TGR Foundation. In 2018, Tiger Woods’ mentee from the foundation’s Earl Woods Scholar Program, Sammy Mohammed, attended the event. After Tiger showed Sammy a few putting tips on the practice range at MPCC, Sammy, who had recently started his college career at Stanford, showed Tiger some coding tips on a “Sphero” robot ball. Click to see what happened next.
Honorable Mention: Scholar Speakers
Sammy wasn’t the first Earl Woods Scholar to attend the event, nor the last. Scholars have been an integral part of the events history. Six scholars (link to scholar story when ready) have taken the stage to speak with Tiger and guests in attendance at the Welcome Dinner. These speeches have been beyond memorable, filled with moving personal stories of overcoming odds to pursue dreams through education that have left a lasting impression on everyone in the room. Others have joined as special guests to experience the event, including four scholars enrolled at Stanford in 2019 who were able to share a favorite ice-breaker activity from Earl Woods Scholar Program workshops, Heads Up.