What Was the First PGA Tour Tournament Tiger Woods Played?

The first PGA Tour tournament that Tiger Woods played was the 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club. Woods was 16 years old at the time, a sophomore in high school, and was given a sponsor's exemption into the field.

Woods posted scores of 72 and 75, missing the cut. Riviera was a par-71 course for the week, so Woods' 147 total was five strokes over par. He missed the cut by six strokes.

Who won the first PGA Tour event played by Tiger Woods? Fred Couples defeated Davis Love III in a playoff after both finished at 15-under 269.

Who were his playing partners? He was paired with Dicky Thompson, then a second-year PGA Tour player, and rookie Bob Friend. Both missed the cut. Friend shot 72-71, his 143 beating Woods by four strokes. Thompson shot 69-78, tying Woods at 147.

Prior to the tournament week, a practice round for Woods at Riviera was arranged. As a private course, Riviera required non-members to be accompanied by members, so Woods played that practice round with the club's director of golf. Riviera's director of golf in 1992 was Peter Oosterhuis, former PGA Tour winner who later went on to a career as a golf broadcaster.

Ironically, the Los Angeles Open (later known by such names as the Nissan Open, Northern Trust Open and Genesis Invitational) became a thorn in Woods' side once his superstardom was established. Of all the PGA Tour tournaments Woods regularly played throughout his career, there were none he played more often than the tournament at Riviera without ever winning it. The Tiger Woods Foundation did, however, eventually take over as the tournament's organizer.

What made Woods, just a couple months past his 16th birthday, worthy of a sponsor exemption into the 1992 Nissan Los Angeles Open? Woods had been making news since, at age 2, he made his national television debut on the Mike Douglas Show. He may only have been 16 years old, but Woods was already a star. In 1991, he had become the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior Amateur. Woods had also been named, for the second year in a row, the Southern California Amateur Player of the Year, plus Golf Digest's Junior Amateur Player of the Year.

So the 1992 Los Angeles Open at Riviera was Woods' first-ever PGA Tour appearance. But what about his first PGA Tour tournament after turning pro? That was the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open, where he tied for 60th place.

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