April 20, 2008–There he was in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center for Tiger Jam XI, the world's greatest golfer, on crutches, working his way through the crowd on the arena floor while legendary rockers Van Halen were doing their thing on stage. Yes, a little more than halfway through the show, Tiger Woods–recuperating from knee surgery earlier in the week–hobbled through the crowd before ducking back stage. Can you just imagine the thoughts running through the heads of Woods' handlers as he walked into the sea of craziness that ensues at a Van Halen concert? For a minute, Phil Mickelson was one stray dance move by a VH fan away from becoming the world's number one player. This public appearance came following a few days of exclusive fun at Tiger Jam, Woods' annual fundraiser, where some golf was also played at Las Vegas golf course Cascata, and Las Vegas golfer and PGA Tour star Charley Hoffman filled in for Tiger during his annual children's clinic. View the Tiger Jam XI Pictures .
Just an hour or so before his 'walk on the wild side', Woods limped on stage (without crutches) to welcome the public to the finale of Tiger Jam XI and thank sponsors AT&T and Mandalay Bay, and then said: "Please welcome one the of greatest rock bands in history … Van Halen!" The group, made up of Eddie Van Halen (himself a golfer), Alex Van Halen, Wolfgang Van Halen and David Lee Roth then immediately threw down the song "You Really Got Me" and a blazing show was off and running. It was the first time on stage in awhile for Van Halen because they recently post-poned some of their tour stops when Eddie Van Halen took time off to evaluate a confidential medical condition. He looked perfectly fine during this show.
A few songs into their set, Roth, who appeared to be wearing two NIKE golf gloves, acknowledged playing for Tiger Jam, before saying, "I can't play golf for sh.., but I can wear these gloves as good as any of the pros in here tonight!"
Van Halen performed for about two hours, filling the arena with nearly every great song from the days when Roth and Van Halen teamed up to set a new standard for the music industry. A few of the songs played included "Unchained", "Jump", "Dance the Night Away", "Panama", "Ice Cream Man", "Hot For Teacher", and "Pretty Woman".
Tiger Jam XI also featured two days of golf at Cascata and an inspirational and fun clinic for kids with Hoffman, a PGA Tour champion and former UNLV golfer, playing the role of Woods in the wake of his injury. Hoffman and Woods grew up playing junior and amatuer golf against each other in Southern California before Woods attended Stanford and Hoffman helped lead UNLV to a national championship. Tiger Jam sponsors and VIPs then teed it up on the Rees Jones-designed Cascata, once dubbed "Golf's hidden treasure" by Sports Illustrated. But despite his injury Woods still made attending the Tiger Jam events a priority.
The event culminated with a dinner and reception before the Van Halen show, and a ton of money was rasied to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation and its beneficiaries. Eddie Van Halen signed a guitar for the auction–donated by Fender–that featured Viveca Paulin Ferrell as the auctioneer. Among the celebrities at the event were NBA stars Dwayne Wade and Alonzo Mourning, legend Julius Erving, NFL star Marcus Allen, Hoffman and his fiance, and "Dancing With the Stars" front runners Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas, who performed a routine during the private dinner.
The auction featured one-of-a-kind items such as the autographed Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein™ replica guitar, playing spots in two Pro-Am tournaments hosted by Tiger Woods, a four-night stay at Western Caribbean, five star resort, Cayo Espanto, four tickets and meet and greet passes to The Police concert in Los Angeles, a Diamond Rose Motif Necklace by Fred Leighton, and much more.
Since its creation in 1998, Tiger Jam has raised more than $11 million for the foundation and select Las Vegas charities including select Las Vegas-based charities including the Andre Agassi Prepatory School, among others. Woods won his first PGA Tour event at the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, and has a long history with Las Vegas. For years he worked with Las Vegas golf pro Butch Harmon at Rio Secco Golf Club, and he nearly attended UNLV. Woods still works with Las Vegas physical therapist Keith Kleven.
Since its inception in 1996 by Tiger Woods and his father Earl, the Tiger Woods Foundation has reached an estimated 10 million young people through character development, career exploration, scholarships and grant making programs. Specific programs of the Foundation include the Tiger Woods Learning Center, a youth-education facility and curriculum based in Anaheim, California that will soon expand to Washington, D.C., and a nationwide character development program based on Earl D. Woods’ book entitled Start Something. The Tiger Woods Foundation recently launched the Fist Pump Challenge, an online program allowing young people to post videos celebrating a personal goal or achievement. More information on the Tiger Woods Foundation and its programs can be found at www.tigerwoodsfoundation.org.
This evening is made possible with support from AT&T, Mandalay Bay, NetJets, Inc., Gatorade and GREY GOOSE Vodka