The guy with a swoosh on his shirt and a tiger head cover on his driver looked pretty good.
Much like Tiger Woods.
Charlie Woods, the 11-year-old son of the 15-time major champion, made his national television debut in the PNC championship on Saturday. And according to his father, he played like he does at home.
Never mind that he had some 250 people to follow, more than his father had watched him at the Masters. Charlie swirled his club confidently before shots, picked up the tee quickly in practice, and even pumped his fist on the par-5 third hole with a 3-wood in 3 feet for the eagle.
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They finished the scramble format at 10 under 62, four strokes behind Matt Kuchar and his son Cameron.
“I don’t really care about my game,” Woods said. “I’m just making sure Charlie has the time of his life. And he does. ”
Charlie Woods is the youngest to play in this 36 hole event which started in 1995 for the big champions and their sons, and now includes all family members. He enjoys the game enough to start playing in a few junior events, and he had no qualms playing in front of a crowd or the cameras.
A TV camera was positioned about 15 feet to the right of Charlie on the opening tee of the Ritz-Carlton Club in Grande Lakes, and he was a bit quick with his swing, pulling him to the left. They used his dad’s tee shot and the 2 foot corner – Charlie made the birdie putt.
It was the last time Team Woods used Tiger’s tee shot on a long hole all the way to No.15. It helped the 11-year-old tee off 100 yards ahead of the PGA Tour players on some holes.
Woods was not surprised at what he saw at home. It was different – a tournament with pros, a scorecard that had to be signed, a TV audience. But it looked the same.
“I saw this from the start. Probably not a lot of people, ”Woods said. “A lot of the punches he did, I’ve seen them at my house at Medalist this whole year. The junior events he played, he hit a lot. It was a question of chaining them for 3 1/2. hours. It is a totally different matter. ”
The swing was gentle. The manners were familiar. Charlie girdled one on the fifth par 5 hole, bending down to catch his tee while the ball was still in flight. Justin Thomas, playing in the band with his dad Mike, smiled and said, “God you’re so much like your dad. While waiting for Thomas to put, father and son stood side by side, right leg crossed over left ankle.
The Woods had 8 pennies through nine holes, topped off by Charlie making an 8-foot bird putt on No.9 and marching him when the ball was a few yards away. Just like dad.
The child also had play in other ways.
During the pro-am, Charlie hit one across the fairway in the trees. Mike Thomas, a longtime club pro who specializes in working with juniors, was in the front group and left a playful note next to Charlie’s ball that read, “Draw Hole! On Saturday, Mike Thomas hit his drive in a bunker on the 13th par 4.
“In typical Woods fashion, he kept the paper,” Justin Thomas said. “My dad kicked in the bunker, and he took that exact paper and put it behind the ball. So a little karma there.
Justin Thomas spends a lot of time with them at home, so he knew how the kid could play. Even so, Thomas said he had different nerves – for his father and for Charlie.
“I knew he was going to impress a lot of people,” Thomas said. “It was cool to see him shaping the ball back and forth and hitting great shots. We probably feel what our parents felt growing up watching us play. You want them to do well, but there’s nothing you can do about it.
“It was competitive, it was happy, it was memorable and we had a few jokes. ”
And they still have a day.
They finished with a birdie on the par 5 18 – across the water to the left of the fairway, a small group of people posted a banner on the deck that read: “Charlie Woods Fan Club – and were tied for sixth place.
“The kid is a player. He’s a grinder. He’s competitive. But he’s so young, ”said Justin Thomas. “I shoot for him. I want it to stay fun, to keep it light. It can get nasty with what people say. Expectations are going to be high, but hopefully it will remain manageable for itself. I hope it stays in itself.
“There are 11, 12, 13 year olds sitting on their couch at home who can’t hit those shots on the shooting range. And he does it in front of a crowd and on national television. ”