Well, Tiger Woods did it again. Last weekend he spoiled and entertained us with his unworldly talents. But this time it was through his 11 year old son. Its obvious young Charlie has inherited all of his father’s gifts, but he has received some world-class guidance as well. From his incredible impact position to his imaginative shot-shaping, the cub looks like he really enjoys the game and already has a thirst for the competitive spotlight.
Charlie’s love of golf is fresh and new, however. He and his older sister’s first game was soccer. Like all of us, he got caught up in the moment on Sunday at the 2019 Masters when his dad did the unthinkable and captured his 5th green jacket and 15th major (first in 11 years). With the Augusta patrons chanting “Tiger” and going bananas as Tiger scooped up Charlie in his arms behind the 18th green and began their victory march to Butler Cabin, he knew at the time that this was a pretty cool moment with his dad. Watching all that followed and realizing that the excitement was not fading any time soon, Charlie began to see what his father meant to the game of golf and what the game meant to him and his family.
For most of his adult and professional life Tiger kept his family pretty private. Over the last year or so we began to see pics of Charlie playing in AJGA and US Kids events with dad looping the bag. These candid shots were from other parents’ cell phones. Pretty cool to see the role reversal as the goat carries the bag and reads the greens for his cub. Then the video surfaced of Charlie hitting a shot on the range as Tiger looked on. The speed, the balance, the tempo all gorgeous…and now we knew the kid had some game.
When Tiger officially announced that he and Charlie would be playing in the PNC Father-Son Championship we got excited as if the powers that be had just announced a December Masters and a 5th major for 2020. Tiger has changed over the years. He is more personable. He lets us in. And here was just another example. Social media was ablaze the moment the pair stepped onto the property at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. It was meme madness as they hit balls side-by-side and displayed an uncanny similar cadence in post-swing mannerisms and strides around the putting green.
Social media and blogs were also on fire with sour grapes and extreme negativity during the weekend telecast. The “Tiger haters” were in full force griping that the duo was getting way too much tv time and that “there were other players in the field.” Lee Trevino had his time 30 years ago and with all due respect to Annika Sorenstam and her 80 year old father…I appreciate you playing and hope you had a great time. I saw plenty of coverage from the Thomas’s (the winners), Vijay and Cass, and Matt Kuchar and his boy. When Lil John Daly first debuted in this event a few years ago he received all the coverage and every shot was shown with reporters and media gushing. Rightfully nobody said a peep. But it’s usually the baby boomer crowd who still make Perkins waitress jokes, that weren’t funny in 2010 and still aren’t funny in 2020, that always have a problem with the amount of airtime Tiger receives. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Tiger Woods doesn’t just move the needle, he is the needle. He’s the box the damn needle comes in and the stand at which it sits!
Am I a Tiger fan boy? Sure. Fine. Whatever. Golf is my life, my business, and my passion. Tiger has done more for the game than I can ever dare to try and put on paper. Everyone involved within the game from instructors, retailers, sponsors, reporters, networks, coaches, and fellow players were impacted significantly that day in 1996 when Tiger uttered the words “Hello world.” He doesn’t just make our game cool and make it a relevant sport, he makes it front page news. Every competitor who played in the Tiger era benefitted greatly financially due to Eldrick Woods choosing the game of golf as his career. And the players today are benefitting tenfold, and they all know it. You don’t have to like everything about him. Hell, you can root against him. That’s the beauty of sport. But you cannot hate his greatness and hate the stage it’s prominently displayed on. We are well into the back 9 of Tiger’s career. His good health days are few and far between. The mornings where he wakes up feeling decent enough to compete will be a gift to us all. And compete he will. In his prime he was known to only play 18-22 events per year as it was. Now it’s looking more like 12-14 if we’re lucky.
I believe this new Tiger actually has a shot at playing the PGA Tour Champions. I would have never said that 10 years ago. But I think he would relish the chance to mix it up with the players from his era who are now on the over 50 circuit, and oh yeah…beat their brains in. I think Charlie’s love of the game inspires Tiger. Inspires him to show the young man that the greatest player of all time is still in there. It excites him knowing they have something to share and memories to create. But if Charlie woke up tomorrow and told his dad that he was done with golf and wanted to try something else, I think Tiger would be a-ok with that.
WITB – Charlie Woods Young Charlie dazzled us with 220 yard drives, aggressive strokes on the green, and an impact position you just can’t teach. He even showed us the ability to shape shots at his young age and treated us to his first career eagle. Let’s take a look inside the bag of little dude.
Driver – Taylormade SIM, Project X EvenFlow Riptide CB
Fairway woods – Taylormade SIM Max 3 & 5
Irons – Taylormade P7MC, 3-PW, Fujikura Vista Pro
Wedges – Taylormade MG2, 56° & 60°, Fujikura Vista Pro
Putter – Taylormade Spider X Copper
Ball – Bridgestone
Enjoy the game and each other. Happiest and safest holidays to you and yours’,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional