Tiger Woods and 12-year-old son Charlie finish second at PNC Championship… but 15-time major winner remains coy on return to competitive golf and insists he will NOT ask to play in a cart
- Tiger Woods and son Charlie thrilled spectators at the PNC Championship
- Woods and Charlie finished second behind John Daly and his son John Daly Jr.
- The father-son duo carded 11 birdies in a row during a second round 57
- PNC Championship was Tiger’s first tournament since car crash in February
It was billed by the more hyperbolic sections of the American media as ‘Tiger Woods’ return to competitive golf.’ It was not even close to that.
Not a light-hearted 36-hole team event where his partner was his 12-year-old son Charlie, he could ride each round in a cart and the opposition included sides led by 86-year-old Gary Player and 82-year-old Lee Trevino.
But for any lover of golf or, heck, anyone who has followed sport over the last 25 years, what happened over a remarkable weekend in Orlando at the PNC Championship — open to former major winners partnering a child or grandchild in a Texas scramble format — added up to a poignant and wonderful festive offering.
Tiger Woods and his son Charlie thrilled spectators at the PNC Championship in Orlando
Not to mention the tantalising prospect that we might, indeed, witness a return to competitive golf for Tiger in the New Year.
For now, this was more than enough. The man who almost lost his life in a horrific car accident in Los Angeles last February and then worried about losing his leg during his long and painful rehabilitation, returning to public life in the company of his precociously gifted son?
If you are not a golf fan and want to know why it is the sport of choice for so many parents and their offspring, here was your answer. Here were two afternoons for Tiger that were almost worth all the months of pain. ‘What a blast that was,’ he said afterwards, with feeling.
What a team they made. There was Charlie, hitting practically every fairway and sinking so many putts (I wonder who he gets that from). And there was Tiger, showing off that incomparable short game and yes, coming up with clutch shots when needed.
Woods and his son combined incredibly well during the PNC Championship in Orlando
Charlie looked perfectly at ease on the course, hitting fairways with impeccable regularity
The Woods carded 11 birdies in a row during a second round 57, one shot of short of matching the tournament record
The pair combined so well they had 11 birdies in a row during a second round 57 — one shot off the tournament record — to thrill a sellout crowd in a format where each player drives, you pick the best tee shot and both play from there, and so on.
It took them to the brink of a fairytale success before finishing runner-up by two shots to John Daly and his 18-year-old son, also called John, who finished on 27 under par. With his long grey hair and beard and a massive belly, all the elder Daly needed was a red Santa Claus outfit to complete a most appropriate success.
Third place went to former Open winner Stewart Cink and his son Reagan on 24 under, one shot ahead of defending champions Justin Thomas and his father Mike.
As for Tiger, the key now is if he can get his legs working sufficiently to walk 72 holes. He is adamant he will not ask to play in a cart. ‘That’s not who I am,’ he said. It’s not a given, therefore, he will return. He was clearly in a lot of pain as he came to the closing holes, even when riding in a cart.
The Woods finished second to John Daly (right) and his son John Daly Jr during the event
The PNC Championship was Tiger’s first tournament since an horrendous car crash in February
But there cannot be a sports fan who will not be wishing a return at the 150th Open at St Andrews next July.
Ask Nelly Korda, the world No 1 and the girl with arguably the best swing in golf, playing alongside her tennis grand slam-winning father Petr and who has spent her whole life around sporting celebrity but who dissolved like a little schoolgirl when she met Tiger for the first time.
Mark the third week in July in your calendar right now. There might be nothing to match it in 2022.