Tiger Woods Won his First PGA Tour Event 19 Years ago This Week.

October 7, 2015


Nineteen years ago, Tiger Woods won the first of 79 PGA Tour events. 

At the 1996 Las Vegas Invitational, a 20-year-old Woods defeated Davis Love III in a playoff after shooting a final-round 64. He had turned pro earlier that summer and opened September with a hot streak. In the three weeks leading up to tournament, Woods finished 11th, T5 and T3. He pocketed $297,000 for the win and rode the momentum into a historic Masters victory the following season. 

The fist-pumping, club-twirling Tiger is a thing of the past, having aged heavily in the last two decades. What else on the Tour has changed since Tiger's first win? Let's take a look.

Major Winners

Masters: Nick Faldo (Augusta National)

U.S. Open: Steve Jones (Oakland Hills)

British Open: Tom Lehman (Royal Lytham & St. Annes)

PGA Championship: Mark Brooks (Valhalla Golf Club)

No. 1 Ranked Player

Greg Norman. The Shark was in the midst of a historic run atop the rankings. He took the No. 1 spot from Nick Price in June of 1995 and held on for almost two full years before ceding the top position to Tom Lehman in April of 1997 for all of one week. Norman would regain the top rank for two months before, guess who!, Tiger Woods took it from him for the first of his 11 runs as the world No. 1. 


Tiger's World Ranking

Entering the Las Vegas Invitational, Woods was ranked 221st in the World Rankings. After his win, he vaulted to 75th. Fast-forward to 2015, and Woods had tumbled down to 331st, his lowest year-end rank since 1995.


Woods didn't crack $300,000 for his maiden victory. In comparison, Ben Martin won the 2015 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (the same tournament as Tiger) and won $1.12 million. Jim Furyk won almost 50 percent of Woods' earnings after withdrawing from the Tour Championship and claiming his 30th place winnings in the FedEx Cup playoffs. 

Jordan Spieth's Age

When Tiger had won his first event, Spieth had just turned three years old. Now, the 22-year-old has two major wins and is the heir apparent to Tiger.

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