Watching Tiger Woods Play an Often-Hidden Role: Dad

ORLANDO, Fla. — The child, like others of his technology, had by no means seen Tiger Woods win a significant. He had no clue how cool golf might be.

After which his father unexpectedly won the 2019 Masters. That’s when the sport acquired a maintain on Woods’s son, Charlie, 11, nearly as quickly as Woods swept him up in his arms behind Augusta Nationwide Golf Membership’s 18th inexperienced.

“It was informal earlier than then,” Woods’s caddie, Joe LaCava mentioned, referring to Charlie’s curiosity in golf. “Now it’s intense — in a great way.”

Charlie Woods’s deeper embrace of golf has afforded the general public a uncommon view this weekend of one other facet of his well-known father, one which Tiger Woods often chooses to maintain out of sight of the prying public: the devoted dad.

Woods, 44, and his son will make their debut Saturday within the PNC Championship, a 36-hole best-ball format that includes 20 groups of main winners and their relations. On a cold Thursday on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Membership at Grande Lakes, the place the event is going down, the Woodses warmed up with an 18-hole pro-am that was memorable for Charlie’s approach-shot darts and Woods’s paternal pleasure.

“It’s a lot enjoyable for me to see him having fun with the sport,” Woods mentioned. “That’s the entire thought. Take pleasure in hitting photographs and creating these photographs.”

Golf has come full circle for Woods, who solid a deep connection along with his father, Earl, via the sport. As Earl did with Tiger, Woods uncovered Charlie to the sport early. At 6, Charlie had a swing that Woods mentioned he envied.

Charlie strikes his neck to work out the cricks the way in which his father does. He shakes his water bottle, minus the added electrolyte powders, similar to his father. He stuffs his fingers in his pockets when he’s chilly like his father. And when he’s taking part in along with his father at house, he reacts to good photographs similar to he does, by twirling his membership.

However Charlie just isn’t a sawed-down model of Woods. In contrast to his father, who competed in a placing contest with Bob Hope on “The Mike Douglas Present” when he was a toddler and had been profiled in Golf Digest and Ebony journal by the point he was 6, Charlie has had a way more low-key childhood.

He dabbled in golf however initially appeared extra , as is his older sister, Sam, in soccer. That was high quality by Woods, who mentioned Thursday, “No matter he decides to do, so long as he has a ardour for it, I’m completely happy.”

Till this week, his youngsters have made rare appearances within the glare of his highlight. Sam, 13, hadn’t deliberate on attending the ultimate spherical of the 2019 Masters, exhibiting up solely after her membership soccer staff did not advance to a event remaining scheduled for a similar day, and Woods mentioned that Charlie got here solely as a result of his sister was there.

After he received, Woods mentioned, they spent the brief flight house combating over who acquired to put on the inexperienced jacket. He was gratified by their enthusiasm.

Woods has spoken usually of how he thought his youngsters have been reluctant to decide to golf as a result of they related the game with the ache it has induced him, not simply his bodily struggles however maybe additionally his arrest with painkillers in his system in 2017 after a dangerous again surgical procedure. The operation had been undertaken, Woods mentioned on the time, to improve his quality of life along with his youngsters, not extend his profession, which he thought was over.

Woods’s voice and expressions at all times soften when he speaks of his youngsters. They’re the one subject that may reliably engender a smile that reaches his eyes.

“So excited that we’re capable of have these moments,” he mentioned Thursday.

To observe Woods and his son on the golf course is to be granted a porthole into Woods’s parenting. Match officers have added ahead tee bins to accommodate Charlie, the youngest competitor within the event’s historical past. On the ninth gap, Woods stood behind Charlie, saying nothing till after he had hit an errant drive and seemed imploringly at his father, who identified that the hitting strip was on a slight slope so he needed to regulate his setup to account for that.

“My dad by no means coached me,” Woods mentioned. “It was all about feels and being there, being current, being with me. He did that and I’m doing it the identical approach with Charlie.”

On the identical gap, Woods’s son requested him why he had used his 9-iron for a 113-yard strategy. Woods defined that it was chilly and windy so he determined to go together with that membership and take a little bit off his swing.

“He picks up on the whole lot,” LaCava mentioned. “He doesn’t simply say, ‘Good shot, dad.’”

Woods and his son performed every 9 with a special set of amateurs. On the ninth and 18th holes, Charlie took off his billed cap to shake fingers along with his taking part in companions. He was well mannered and attentive and appeared unfazed by all of the adults, together with just a few with their young children in tow, who cheered his each shot.

“It’s so cool for me to see him benefit from the sport and feeling the photographs and hitting it as strong as he’s hitting it,” Woods mentioned.

Because the lead producer of NBC’s golf protection, Tommy Roy has grown accustomed to seeing Woods on the 120 screens he displays throughout a telecast. However taking part in the primary 9 Thursday in the identical group as Woods, Roy noticed him from a special approach.

“It’s actually cool, I’ve to say, to see him as a dad,” Roy mentioned.

Whether or not Woods was standing behind his son learning his type and the flight of his ball or leaning all the way down to reply a query, the outcome was the identical. Woods described them as “bonding moments.”

Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, youthful stars who’ve gotten to know Woods effectively over the previous few years, every described him as an important father. However till this week, folks drawn to Woods, the performer, had no thought actually what he seemed like as a guardian.

On each gap, after the group putted out, Woods caught a tee within the floor and engaged Charlie in contests to see whose putt or chip got here closest to it. On the 18th gap, as Woods and his son walked facet by facet down the golf green, pulling roughly two dozen spectators alongside, one man within the crowd turned to a different and mentioned, “I’m not even an enormous fan, however I’m having fun with this. It’s fairly cool.”

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