Tiger and Charlie Woods almost pulled it out on Sunday. They broke out the red shirts and Tiger and his cub were on the prowl throughout the final day at the PNC Championship. Team Woods made a tournament-record 11 consecutive birdies at one point, but still finished two shots behind the tournament champions, John Daly and his son John Daly II — a freshman at Arkansas. Team Daly set its own tournament record, finishing 27-under par.
The star of the day, however, was the same person as it was during the 2020 PNC Championship, young Charlie Woods. The 12-year-old dazzled spectators again, not just with his outstanding play, but in how he is almost an exact replica of his father on the golf course. It’s expected that he would swing and putt like his father, but it was to the point where Charlie stares just like his dad.
Woods was shown a video of the two a week before the tournament, edited to show clips of them playing side-by-side — and Charlie does everything like dad. He puts his hand on hip like Tiger, he leans like his dad, he walks like his dad, he even twirls the club after his swings and picks the tee up like his dad. While watching the video Woods got the most amusement out of their nose wipe on the course being exactly the same because they both have allergies.
Charlie was no different this past weekend at the PNCs. He was still twirling that club to his side after a shot just like daddy — they do it almost like old warriors putting their swords back into their sheaths. Their second-place finish was quite an improvement from a seventh-place finish in 2020, but their place in the standings wasn’t the only difference between this year and last year.
“We had just the best time ever,” Woods told the media on Sunday. “I just wish, like I told you guys yesterday, I wish I could’ve walked down the fairways with him, been side-by-side the entire time with him like we were last year.”
Nearly two months to the day after Tiger and Charlie competed in the 2020 PNC Championship was the accident in which Tiger had to be removed from his car having suffered comminuted open fractures of his tibia and fibula. The injury was so severe that after leaving the hospital, Woods still had to lay in bed for months in a hospital and then in his home. While he recovered enough to play in the tournament, he still was not able to walk the entire course and had to use a golf cart at times.
Woods’ first public appearance at a golf event was at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas after Thanksgiving, but he did not compete. He just practiced on the back range during the competition and gave a press conference. Woods said that he will no longer compete on a full PGA schedule. He was seen wincing at times during the PNCs, which he referred to as a “hit and giggles” event, but he does want to compete at The Open Championship in July, the last major of the year and the 150th in history.
With the sun setting at noon this time of year, and Christmas at the end of this week, July is a long way off. After having seen Tiger play, and play well, in a tournament less than one year after a car accident that nearly cost him his leg makes it feel like July is just far enough away to see him on the prowl for real, back on the hunt for Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. That number feels just a bit closer today than it did the days leading up to the PNC Championship.
If Woods competes in The Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he’s won twice before (2000, 2005), that will be the biggest sporting event of the summer. I don’t care if Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan have a three-round prelim boxing match on Jake Paul’s next card. To return to tournament play after nearly losing a leg on top of all of his other injuries would be amazing theater. But for now, let’s just enjoy the weekend we had, the tiger and his cub prowling the back nine hunting for birdies together.