Tiger Woods Mixes Golf and Family Once Again

ORLANDO, Fla. — As he does with the equipment in his golf bag, Tiger Woods neatly arranges his life in tidy compartments. His life as a high-profile golfer goes in a single slot, his household goes in one other and, like his favored chunky peanut butter and banana sandwiches and the remainder of his baggage, he’d want to maintain all of it separated.

When Woods made an exception this week, teaming up together with his 11-year-old son, Charlie, on the PNC Championship, the outcomes have been maybe predictably distinct.

Charlie had a blast and Woods was a nervous wreck.

The dynamic duo, as they have been described by breathless tv announcers, completed seventh at 20-under, 5 strokes behind the profitable staff of Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, who have been grouped with the Woodses within the first spherical.

However so far as Tiger Woods was involved, this was one occasion the place success was all in regards to the particulars, not the digits.

“I’m simply ensuring Charlie has the time of his life,” he stated on Saturday.

Woods’s father, Earl, who died in 2006, possessed a pleasure in his baby’s precociousness with a golf membership that led to Woods, 44, making his first tv appearances and submitting to his first interviews earlier than he began kindergarten.

Due to Woods’s accomplishments, which embody 15 main titles, Charlie has additionally grown up within the highlight, extensively photographed and gawked at since delivery. Over the previous yr, as his interests have shifted from soccer to golf, his swing has been scrutinized on the web as if it contained the which means of life.

“This can be a completely different world that we stay in now,” Woods conceded. “Everybody has a telephone, everybody has a chance to video, he’s been on the market.”

Nevertheless it’s one factor to exist in a fishbowl and fairly one other to be dropped into the shark tank of a 36-hole televised competitors that includes 20 groups wherein main winners or Gamers champions are paired with members of the family in a scramble format.

With Tiger and his cub within the combine, the low-key occasion grew to become a significant manufacturing, eclipsing the L.P.G.A.’s tour championship, held roughly 200 miles — and a distant universe of hype — away and received by the ladies’s world No. 1, Jin Young Ko. Greater than 200 folks and a number of tv cameras have been gathered across the first tee to observe Charlie’s opening shot Saturday.

“Lots of people try to make use of him to construct up, or write or speak about issues,” Woods stated. “Simply ensuring he’s capable of have enjoyable taking part in the sport of golf.”

Woods insisted that Charlie be excused from media interviews all through the week. When he met with reporters, Tiger Woods’s traditional facility with phrases escaped him. Lots of his ideas trailed off.

“I’m attempting to ensure Charlie has the suitable setting, that he’s sheltered and away from this,” Woods stated Saturday whereas addressing a small group of reporters. “I do all of this so he can apply and play and benefit from the golf aspect of it.”

On one gap throughout the first spherical, Woods spoke with Justin Thomas about how excruciating it was to need so badly for Charlie to play effectively however to be helpless to do something however watch.

Tiger Woods needn’t have fretted. Charlie, taking part in from ahead tees arrange for him and the octogenarians Gary Participant, 85, and Lee Trevino, 81, break up the golf green with most of his drives and sometimes positioned his approaches inside his father’s efforts.

The opening spherical featured Charlie’s first-ever eagle on a par-5, which he took in stride till his excited dad squeezed a bashful smile out of him with a bear hug.

“He hit among the most unbelievable golf photographs,” Woods stated.

In introducing the golf world to his son, Woods revealed the person behind {the golfing} machine. Woods, an 82-time PGA Tour winner who says he competes to win, repeatedly used the phrase “good” on Saturday to explain a spherical that ended with the Woodses trailing by 4 strokes.

Woods can bore holes in his competitors’ games with a glare, however a number of instances over the weekend his eyes pooled with emotion as he talked in regards to the father-and-son bonding alternative the match supplied.

From his mannerisms to his mechanics, Charlie got here throughout as a miniature model of his father. He appeared snug within the firm of adults and well-schooled in golf’s etiquette, strolling to each tee field with the membership he was going to make use of in a single hand and his teed ball within the different. He stayed out of the best way when it wasn’t his flip and wasted no time hitting as soon as over the ball.

Tiger Woods, who stated he always emphasizes having enjoyable on the course and being “respectful,” beamed on the point out of Charlie’s good manners and stated he needed to share any credit score together with his ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, who confirmed up Sunday with their daughter Sam to observe Charlie play.

Neither Thomas nor Woods expressed shock on the high quality photographs that Charlie persistently produced. They’d seen all of them after they practiced and performed alongside him throughout the months when the tour was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I knew he was going to wow lots of people,” Thomas stated, including, “The child’s a gamer, he’s a grinder, he’s aggressive.”

Each afternoon when he was completed taking part in 18 holes, Charlie made a beeline for the vary to hit extra balls. Throughout one post-round session, the youngsters of one other main winner have been on the vary not removed from him. As they twirled and tossed their golf equipment like they have been batons and cried out to get their mother and father’ consideration, Charlie was a number of yards away, quietly and methodically working his manner by a bag of balls.

The retired L.P.G.A. star Annika Sorenstam, a 10-time main winner, seen that her 9-year-old son appeared enamored of Charlie and extra enthusiastic in regards to the recreation after watching him play.

“While you see anyone your age and your measurement do what Charlie’s doing, it’s a little bit extra inspiring to see what you are able to do,” Sorenstam stated.

Trevino crossed paths with Woods earlier than the primary spherical. “Now you understand how your father felt,” he stated he advised him.

Woods’s voice grew thick. “It’s unbelievable,” he replied.

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