Tiger Woods returns to Orlando with his son Charlie to headline the field at this weekend’s 2020 PNC Championship. Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club will host the event for the 9th consecutive year. The annual family affair (formerly the PNC Father/Son) draws the biggest names in golf, but this year, none bigger than 11-year old Charlie Woods.
Like father, like son
The general public has only seen glimpses of Charlie Woods, until now. There are only a few videos circulating the internet of the prodigies swing. The golf world is also familiar with the iconic shot of Charlie embracing his father following his victory at the Masters in 2019. That image is eerily similar to the one of Tiger embracing his father, Earl, following his first Masters victory in 1997.
Charlie does participate in junior golf events around the state and has already broken par on 9 holes in competition. Tiger credits the pandemic for Charlie’s increased interest and development in the game.
“The only thing that was available to us was golf,” Woods said. “He started to pick up golf, but this pandemic allowed us to play more golf and be with one another. And we just started playing a lot, and he started getting the bug for it, and so did I. It kept me competitive, kept me in it when we didn’t have any tournaments.”
“But I had a tournament every day with him, and that was the fun part,” he added. “Was just like me growing up with my dad.”
War of Words
Charlie has also developed a little bit of his dad’s trash talking abilities.
“For some reason, Charlie just always wants to beat me, it doesn’t matter what it is,” current World #3 Justin Thomas, a friend of the Woods family, said at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. “Although he’s never beaten me in golf or a putting contest, he still talks trash just like his dad.”
Thomas and his father will be paired with the Woods family in the event.
Then and now
Woods called Orlando home for many years. It’s where his career blossomed. Where his kids were born. Where he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational a record 8 times. It’s also where it all came crashing down on Thanksgiving Night 2009.
Although Tiger was a long-time Orlando resident, besides that one night, you’d almost never know it. His most public off-course appearances occurred in the front row at Magic games, often alone, and only when other A-list NBA stars came to town. Of course, as we later found out, there was reason behind the low profile.
Woods, now a Jupiter resident, returns to Orlando, this time in the role of Earl. If Tiger’s mentoring can help Charlie captivate a nation anywhere near the levels his father continues to, the future of golf could be in great hands.
The event will also feature legends of the game such as Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam, Greg Norman, and John Daly. Oh, and Tiger too.
The PNC Championship will be telecast Saturday and Sunday across NBC, GOLF Channel and Peacock.