Decked out in that familiar Sunday red, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods and his young son Charlie put on a show at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. Team Woods made 11 consecutive birdies to claw their way into contention, ultimately finishing in solo second place behind John Daly and his son John Daly II.
The longest birdie streak in tournament history.
A magical run for Team Woods. pic.twitter.com/Xy7lRdbYbL
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 19, 2021
The elder Woods was thankful he was even able to play the tournament, given the horrific car accident he was in earlier this year. Woods sustained injuries so bad he wasn’t sure he would be able to keep his right leg. Ten months later he’s competing with his young son and had a bogey-free card.
New tournament record for consecutive birdies.
A run at the trophy.
Memories for a lifetime.
Highlights from Team Woods' Sunday. pic.twitter.com/tyGr4bTJ6p
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 20, 2021
Just as he did last year, Charlie stole the show. The younger Woods hit superb iron shots over the two days, stuffing them so close to the hole putts were often simple tap-ins. At No. 17, where pros and their amateur partners all hit from the same tees at 169 yards, Charlie stuffed a 5-iron that finished 4 feet left of the hole, then rolled in the putt. No pro all day had hit a shot closer.
Everyone has marveled at the way Charlie and his dad share the same mannerisms in golf. From the way they pick up the tee after a shot, the club twirl, the way they stand off to the side waiting to putt. The way they walk a putt into the hole when they know they’ve struck it well, to the iconic fist pump.
77 million views.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 14, 2021
In so many ways, Charlie is his father’s son.
But what’s next for the younger Woods, who many are already calling a phenom?
It’s too early to call stardom on the PGA Tour or challenging his dad’s records.
At the same age Tiger was already a nationally ranked golfer. He was the true prodigy. Charlie isn’t anywhere near the top 10 in his age group in his home state of Florida.
Charlie is currently playing on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, which is the largest junior golf tour. Woods’ rank is tied at 135 in the boys ages 11-13 division. Now, this could be all by design, as Tiger knows better than anyone about the pressures and expectations heaped on a young athlete.
The late Earl Woods raised Tiger to be the greatest golfer of all time. That was the plan from the beginning. There is no sense that Tiger is charting the same path for Charlie.
Based on the little Tiger has said, his main focus is making sure Charlie is having fun and enjoying the game.
We all know stories and have seen countless examples of the overbearing sports parent that pushes their child to the breaking point, only to see the kid quit and hate the sport.
Still, when your dad is maybe the greatest golfer of all time and one of the most famous athletes in the world, the comparisons and questions are inevitable.
Tiger is quick to note the differences between himself and his son at similar ages, and he praises Charlie in areas he’s shown growth and early excellence.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 17, 2021
If Charlie earns a college scholarship to play Division I golf, that would be quite an accomplishment. Consider that there are roughly 3 million junior golfers, and roughly 1,300 division one golf scholarships. You’ve got to be really good to land one.
His father played golf at Stanford University and won 11 tournaments, was first team All-American, PAC-10 player of the year, NCAA champion in 1996 and the college player of the year. He also won the U.S. Junior Amateur three consecutive times from 1991 to 1993, a feat he followed by winning the U.S. Amateur three years running from 1994 to 1996. He was a champion and dominant at every level of golf he has played.
He was the best junior golfer, college golfer, amateur, and pro.
Charlie Woods “carried” Team Woods in some respects at the PNC Championship, but let’s slow down with the expectations of greatness. He has an enormous shadow cast over him by his father.
Tiger’s style of play, and his dominance has fooled many casual golf fans into thinking this game is easy. It is not.
There’s a reason Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods are the only players in the modern era to have double digit major wins. Woods has 82 PGA Tour wins. His greatest rival, Phil Mickelson, has 45 and turned pro five years earlier.
Right now, Charlie’s super competitive and loves to play the game. Let’s wait and see how that continues and how his game progresses.
A week to remember for Team Woods. 💯
Best of the best from Tiger and Charlie. pic.twitter.com/tQzl54vlIp
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) December 20, 2021
Back in August 2020, the younger Woods won a U.S. Kids Golf-sanctioned event by five strokes. He finished -3 and was the only finisher under par. This is his best-known finish.
Again, this is likely all by design. But let’s allow Charlie to develop into his own player and whatever version of golfer that is before we start expecting the greatness we saw in his father.
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