ORLANDO, FL – The kid, like other people of his generation, has never seen Tiger Woods win the flagship. He had no idea how great golf was.
Then his father unexpectedly won the 2019 masters championship. That’s when the game got Woods’ son, Charlie, 11, as soon as Woods swept him in his arms behind Augusta National Golf Club # 18.
“It was unofficial before then,” said Woods carriage Joe Lacava, referring to Charlie’s interest in golf. “Now the situation is intense – in a good way.”
Charlie Woods’ deep embrace of golf gave the public a rare sight this weekend of yet another side of his famous father, one that Tiger Woods usually chooses to keep him out of prying eyes: the loyal father.
Woods, 44, and his son will make their debut on Saturday at the PNC Championship, the best 36-hole ball form featuring 20 teams of prominent former champions and their family members. On a chilly Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Grand Lakes, where the tournament is taking place, the Woods team prepared with an unforgettable 18-hole pro match for Charlie’s darts of approach and Woods’ paternal pride.
“It’s very interesting for me to see him enjoy the game,” said Woods. That is the whole idea. I have fun shooting and creating those shots. “
Golf has become a full circle for Woods, who established a deep bond with his father, Earl, through the game. As Earl did with Tiger, Woods exposed Charlie to the game early on. At 6 years old, Charlie got a swing that Woods said envied.
Charlie moves his neck cracks exercises the way his father does. He shakes the water bottle, minus the added electrolyte powders, just like his father. He stuffs his hands in his pockets when he’s cold like his father. And when he’s playing with his dad at home, he reacts to good shots just like he does, by spinning his racket.
But Charlie is not a cut copy of Woods. Unlike his father, who competed in a pose contest with Bob Hope on “The Mike Douglas Show” when he was a little kid and had been described in Golf Digest and Ebony magazine when he was six years old, Charlie was much lower. Childhood Home.
He immersed himself in golf but initially seemed more interested in football, much like his older sister Sam. It was well done by Woods, who said Thursday, “Whatever he decides to do, as long as he has a passion for him, I’m happy.”
Until this week, his children have repeatedly appeared in the spotlight. Sam, 13, was not planning to attend the final round of the 2019 Masters and only showed up after her club’s soccer team failed to advance to the tournament final scheduled for the same day, and Woods said Charlie came only because his sister it was there.
Woods said that after the win, they spent the short trip home squabbling over who wore the green jacket. He was pleased with their enthusiasm.
Woods talked a lot about his belief that his children were reluctant to stick to golf because they linked the sport to the pain it caused him, not only his physical suffering but perhaps also his arrest with sedative use in his system in 2017 after a risky return to surgery. Woods said the operation was conducted at the time, To improve his quality of life With his children, and not prolonging his career, which he thought was over.
Woods always softens his voice and expressions when he talks about his children. They are the only subject that can reliably generate a smile that reaches his eyes.
“I’m so excited that we are able to have these moments,” he said Thursday.
To see Woods and his son on the golf course, he will be awarded a skylight in Woods’ upbringing. Tournament officials added front tee boxes to accommodate Charlie, the youngest competitor in tournament history. In the ninth hole, Woods stood behind Charlie, saying nothing until after he hit the wrong engine and looked disapprovingly at his father, who indicated that the hitting bar was on a slight slope, so he had to adjust his setup to take that into account. .
“My father never coached me,” said Woods. “It was all about feeling and being out there, being, being with me. He did it and I do it the same way with Charlie.”
In the same hole, Woods’ son asked him why he used his 9 iron to approach 113 yards. It was cold and windy, Woods explained, so he decided to go with that club and take a little bit of his swing.
“It captures everything,” Lacafa said. “He doesn’t just say, ‘Good shot, Dad. “
Woods and his son played all nine with a different group of amateurs. In the ninth and eighteenth slots, Charlie took off his plaid hat to shake hands with his partners. He was polite and alert and seemed unperturbed by all the adults, including the few with their little ones, who were cheering on every shot of him.
“It’s great for me to see him enjoy the sport, feel the shots and hit it as hard as he hits it,” Woods said.
As the main producer of NBC golf coverage, Tommy Roy used to see Woods on 120 screens watching him during TV broadcasts. But playing the first Nine Thursdays in the same group as Woods, Roy saw him from a new angle.
Roy said, “It’s really cool, I must say, to see him as a father.”
Whether Woods was standing behind his son studying his shape and his ball plane or leaning down to answer a question, the result was the same. Woods described them as “bonding moments”.
Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, the young stars who have known Woods so well over the past few years, both describe him as a great father. But even this week, the people who were drawn to Woods, the artist, really had no idea what he looked like as a father.
In each hole, after putting out the group, Woods placed the tee on the ground and put Charlie into contests to see who was the closest or the chip. In the eighteenth hole, when Woods and his son walked side by side down the aisle, drawing nearly twenty spectators, a man from the crowd turned to another and said, “I’m not a huge fan, but I enjoy this. It’s cool.”