Tiger Woods, left, shares a fist-bump with his son Charlie after walking up their ball on the 14th fairway during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Tiger’s son makes TV debut and looks just like he’s at home

The guy with a swoosh on his shirt and a Tiger head cover on his driver looked pretty good.

So did Tiger Woods.

Charlie Woods, the 11-year-old son of the 15-time major champion, made his national TV debut Saturday in the PNC Championship. And according to his dad, he played just like he does at home.

Never mind that he had some 250 people following along, more than his dad had watching him at the Masters. 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 with a 3-wood into 3 feet for eagle.

They finished the scramble format at 10-under 62, four shots behind Matt Kuchar and son Cameron.

“I don’t really care about my game,” Woods said. “I’m just making sure that Charlie has the time of his life. And he’s doing that.”

Charlie Woods is the youngest to play in this 36-hole event that began in 1995 for major champions and their sons, and now includes all family members. He loves the game enough to start playing in a few junior events, and he had no qualms playing before a crowd or the 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.

That was the last time Team Woods used Tiger’s tee shot on a long hole until No. 15. It helped that the 11-year-old was able to use a forward tee, 100 yards ahead of the PGA Tour players on some holes.

Woods was not surprised from what he’s seen at home. This was different — a tournament with pros, a scorecard that had to be signed, a television audience. But it sure looked the same.

“I’ve seen this all along. Probably not a lot of people have,” 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.”

The swing was smooth. The mannerisms were familiar. Charlie belted one on the par-5 fifth hole, bending over to grab his tee while the ball was still in flight. Justin Thomas, playing in the group with his father Mike, smiled and said, “God, you are so much like your dad.” Waiting for Thomas to putt, father and son stood side-by-side, right leg crossed over left ankle.

The Woods’ were 8 under through nine holes, capped off by Charlie making an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 9 and walking it in when the ball was a few feet away. Just like Dad.

The kid had game in other ways, too.

During the pro-am, Charlie hit one through the fairway into the trees. Mike Thomas, a longtime club professional whose specialty is working with juniors, was in the group ahead and playfully left a note next to Charlie’s ball that said, “Draw Hole!” On Saturday, Mike Thomas hit his drive into a bunker on the short par-4 13th.

“In typical Woods’ fashion, he kept the paper,” Justin Thomas said. “My dad hit 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 a different kind of nerves — for his dad and for Charlie.

“I knew he was going to wow a lot of people,” 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.”

And they get one more day.

They finished with a birdie on the par-5 18th — across the water left of the fairway, a small group of people posted a banner on the bridge that said, “Charlie Woods Fan Club — and were tied for sixth.

“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.

“There’s 11-, 12-, 13-year-olds sitting on their couch at home that can’t hit those shots on the range. And he’s doing it in front of a crowd and on national TV.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Grant Hunter, associate minister of red tape reduction, is proud of the work his ministry has done over the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo contributed)
Alberta gets A for red tape reduction

The Alberta government is getting a thumbs up for its work on… Continue reading

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Not all long-term care workers have received their vaccines including a Red Deer facility

There continues to be confusion in long-term care and supportive living facilities… Continue reading

Cattle graze winter pasture in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies near Longview, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2004. Concern over the provincial government’s decision to drop a coal policy that has protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies for decades is growing among area communities. At least six cities, towns and municipal districts in southwest Alberta have now expressed concern about the decision and the fact it was made with no consultation. The latest is Longview, where mayor Kathie Wight is drafting a letter to the government opposing the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
More southern Alberta communities voice concern over province’s plans to expand coal

Concern over the Alberta government’s decision to drop a coal policy that… Continue reading

Some residents say there is no longer an effective Nordegg fire department to respond to emergencies in the West Country. (Contributed photo).
Some Nordegg residents worry about lack of emergency response in the West Country

The possibility of wildfires or accidents is ‘scary’ says former fire leader

FILE - Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has his final meeting of the season with the media at the NHL hockey team's practice facility in Cranberry, Pa., in this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, file photo. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a Hall of Famer who helped lead to a pair of Stanley Cup titles, resigned abruptly on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Outfielder George Springer is shown in a screengrab from a virtual news conference he took part in on Wednesday, Jan.27, 2021. Springer says he's excited to be a part of a young, talented team like the Toronto Blue Jays, a club he believes has plenty of potential. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli tries to fend off Saskatchewan Roughrider Zack Evans during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton on Thursday, June 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot (72) tries to clear Vancouver Canucks centre Jay Beagle (83) from in front of Senators goaltender Marcus Hogberg (1) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) knocks a rebound away from Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and defenseman John Klingberg (3) celebrates a goal by Joe Pavelski against the Nashville Predators during the third period an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in Dallas. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)
‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith instructs his team in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski
With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

Most Read