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Wearing the telltale Nike ‘swoosh’ and a Tiger headcover, Charlie, the son of golf legend and 15-time major champ Tiger Woods, made his television debut Saturday in the PNC Championship.
And, according to his dad, the 11-year-old’s game was just as good as it is back home.
At one point, The Associated Press reported, the youngster had about 250 fans following him — more than those who watched his pop at the Masters earlier this year.
“Charlie confidently twirled his club before shots, quickly picked up the tee on his drives, and even pumped his fist on the par-5 third hole” following a 3-wood shot to within three feet of the pin for an eagle, the AP noted.
And when the scramble was over, Woods and Woods finished 10-under 62, or four shots back from Matt Kuchar and his son Cameron.
“I don’t really care about my game,” Tiger Woods said. “I’m just making sure that Charlie has the time of his life. And he’s doing that.”
As it turns out, Charlie Woods has become the youngest player to participate in the 36-hole event that began in 1995 for the PGA’s biggest champions and their sons, though it now includes all family members. The youngster told the AP he enjoys golf enough to be playing in some junior matches and had no issues playing before crowded and cameras.
A television camera was position some 15 feet away to the right of Charlie on the opening tee at The Ritz-Carlton Club at Grande Lakes, and he was a little quick with his swing, pulling it to the left. They used his father’s tee shot and wedge into 2 feet — Charlie made the birdie putt.
But that was the last time that the Woods team used the old man’s tee-off on a long hole until No. 15, though it didn’t hurt that Charlie was able to use the forward tee, 100 yards closer than PGA Tour champs on a number of holes.
The proud pop said he wasn’t surprised at how his son played, given what he has seen at home.
“I’ve seen this all along. Probably not a lot of people have,” Tiger Woods said. “A lot of the shots he hit, I’ve seen them back home at The Medalist this entire year. The junior events he played in, he hit a lot of these. It was a matter of stringing these out for 3 1/2 hours. It’s a totally different deal.”
On the par-5 No. 5, Charlie smacked a long drive and bent over to grab his tee before the ball had hit the ground, prompting Justin Thomas, playing with his dad Mike in the same group, to grin and declare, “God you are so much like your dad.”
On the same hole while waiting for Justin to putt, both Woods stood next to each other with their right legs crossed over their left ankles, the AP noted.
“I knew he was going to wow a lot of people,” Mike Thomas said. “It was cool to see him shape the ball both ways and hit great shots. We feel probably what our parents felt growing up watching us play. You want them to do well, but you can’t do anything about it.
“It was competitive, it was joyful, it was memorable and we had some banter,” he added.
“The kid’s a gamer. He’s a grinder. He’s competitive. But he’s so young,” Justin Thomas said. “I’m pulling for him. I want him to keep it fun, keep it light. It can get nasty out there with what people say. Expectations are going to be high, but I hope it remains manageable for himself. I hope he stays within himself.”
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