Charlie Woods will team up with his father at this week’s PNC Championship in an event that Tiger has called “special” too many times to count.
The 13-year-old Woods will be a far cry from the wide-eyed 11-year-old the world was introduced to a couple years ago in he and Tiger’s debut at the PNC. Charlie’s bigger, stronger and has been spending increasing amounts of time on camera as his junior career is in full swing.
Still attempting to get his own body and game in shape to compete against the world’s best, Tiger has prioritized time with his son, caddying for him in tournaments and passing along all he’s learned about the game throughout his life and career.
Golf is an individual sport, but this week it’s about so much more than one person holding a trophy. It’s about family, camaraderie and fun.
As we prepare for this week’s PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, let’s take a look at some of the memories Tiger and Charlie created the past two times this event has hit the calendar.
The eyes of the golf world watched as what appeared to be a mini-Tiger burst onto the scene with a swing that most of us have failed to achieve well into adulthood. It was the third hole on the first day of the tournament, and after setting himself up with a beautiful tee shot, Charlie unleashed a 3-wood that hooked around a set of trees before trundling to just a few feet. The young Woods would knock it in for a solo eagle as dad watched, so clearly bursting with pride.
The fist pump
The final round in 2020 brought with it some theatrics. After an approach from Tiger that rattled off the pin before spinning back to the front edge of the green, the stage was set for Charlie. With the 15-time major champion staring down the line, the 11-year-old struck the putt and Tiger knew it had a chance. As the ball rolled toward the hole, the elder Woods can be heard seemingly encouraging the ball to drop. “Good putt. Good putt,” Woods continued. “Good putt. Well done.” As good as the putt was, it had nothing on the fist pump. Charlie had clearly picked up a thing or two from dad over the years.
The Sunday charge
Team Woods knew it would take something special if they planned to hoist the trophy in 2021, and they nearly pulled off the comeback. It was a hot start for Tiger and Charlie, opening birdie-birdie-eagle before settling for three straight pars in the scramble format. The trio of pars seemed to end their chances, as they would need to do something remarkable over the final 12 holes to catch John Daly and his son. Remarkable, it was.
Beginning on No. 7, Team Woods made 11 consecutive birdies, forcing even the most casual of golf fans to their TV’s to see if the duo could eagle the 18th to pull even with the Daly’s. After missing the green just right on the par-5 finisher, both players were aggressive with their eagle chips, but couldn’t find the bottom of the cup. They would ultimately make par and finish two shots back, but the Sunday charge sent shockwaves through golf in Tiger’s first competitive appearance since the car crash that forever changed his life.
The PNC Championship has provided us with something we’d rarely seen, a peek behind the curtain to see what Tiger is like as a father. The 2019 Masters gave us a memorable post-victory moment when Tiger and Charlie shared a hug in front of the world off the back of the 18th green. It reminded us of Tiger and his father, Earl, after Woods’ inaugural major victory in 1997. The PNC has given us something different. It’s given us a Tiger that is utterly uninterested his own success, instead focusing all his energy into his son.