Thanks to Tiger Woods, Beau Hossler will get to make his PGA Tour debut this weekend at the same country club where America first got to see the potential of the golfer from Santa Margarita High.
Hossler, at the request of Woods, was granted a sponsor's exemption into the AT&T National, which begins Thursday at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Woods is the host for this week's tournament and is also playing in it.
For the first and second rounds, Hossler, 17, has been paired with Kyle Reifers and Billy Hurley III. The threesome will tee off at 5:52 a.m. on Thursday.
"That was pretty special, because it was really late notice and I wasn't really expecting it," Hossler, who recently completed his junior year at Santa Margarita, said Tuesday during a news conference at Congressional. "But to be able to be here is quite a blessing."
It was at Congressional that Hossler played in his first U.S. Open last year as a 16-year old, making him the youngest player in the field and one of the youngest to ever play in the major championship.
Earlier this month, Hossler, the Register's Boy's Golfer of the Year for 2012, briefly led the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco when he dropped to 2-under par in the second round.
"I think that it's ‘‘ what he did at the U.S. Open is pretty remarkable," Woods told reporters at the country club. "You know, it's consistency and handling that golf course and being as consistent as he was, but on that big a stage. That was impressive to see."
On Tuesday, Hossler played a practice round with Jordan Spieth, his future teammate at the University of Texas, and D.A. Points. He also played the front nine with 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, who has since turned pro.
Hossler said the greens are firm and the course is playing tough, but he expects to go out there and compete once again, just like he did at the Olympic Club when he was inside the top 10 heading into the final round.
His recent performance at the Olympic Club has made him quite a celebrity.
"I was buying socks at Macy's the other day and some person didn't believe that it was me, so I had to show them my ID.
It's pretty cool, though, because a lot of people know who I am now, being stopped in airports and everything, taking pictures," Hossler said. "It's definitely different. You don't really expect it because you still feel like ‘‘ you wouldn't really expect the guy at Jack in the Box to recognize me, but they kind of do now. So it's definitely different."