THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Of all the memories from Tiger Woods’ roots in Southern California, it’s easy to overlook the time he made an appearance in the Tournament of Roses parade.
OK, so he wasn’t the grand marshal. And he had just turned 18.
Woods, coming off his first U.S. Amateur title, rode on the Chiropractic Centennial Foundation float that required seven tons of flowers to build. He wasn’t the only celebrity on the float on Jan. 2, 1995. Also riding were singer Lee Greenwood, Hall of Fame baseball player Joe Morgan and Olympic champion speedskater Cathy Turner.
The majestic float was toward the end of the order, trailed only by the Icelandic Horse Adventure Society and the International House of Pancakes.
For sure, there were far greater moments with a golf club in his hand.
Woods was only a toddler when he first went head-to-head with Sam Snead. It was only two holes, and Woods made bogey on both of them. Now, he is only four victories from breaking Snead’s record for career PGA Tour victories.
Woods made his PGA Tour debut at Riviera in the 1992 Nissan Open when he was a 16-year-old junior in high school. He might have made the cut if not for a growth spurt during the week that made the shaft in his driver too short. More on that later.
He never won what he often referred to as his “hometown event” at Riviera. He made up for it by winning five times at Sherwood Country Club, and that doesn’t include his win over David Duval at the illustrious “Showdown at Sherwood” in what amounted to Monday Night Golf.
Woods returns to Sherwood this week, in effect closing a chapter on golf in the area he always called home.
The Tiger Woods Learning Center, a superb complex that recently received a Golden Bell Award for excellence in education, remains his tie to Southern California. And the Tiger Woods Foundation headquarters will stay in Irvine.