How it felt inside the ropes with Tiger (and Charlie) Woods | Rogers Report
Hello, friends, and welcome to a special Friday edition of the Rogers Report! To put it quite simply, today was awesome. I had never followed Tiger for a full 18 holes, but today? Today I got to be inside the ropes following him and Charlie. Going in, I had no idea what to expect. A lot of people, sure. And a lot of security. But besides that I was just eager to find out how it would all play out. So let’s run through my day from start to finish.
Tiger and Charlie arrived on the scene at around 8:00 a.m. As for me? At that point I was a few miles away, dashing down 11 flights of stairs because the fire alarm had just gone off at my hotel. On paper, not how I’d planned it out — but this was no time to get down. My coworker James and I stopped at Dunkin’ on our way to the course and vibes were high. As a native New Englander, the only thing better than watching golf is watching golf with an ice-cold Dunks cup in hand.
This video, taken as Team Woods got ready in the parking lot, is intriguing. Why did Tiger have a baseball bat readily available in his trunk? I’m not sure. But don’t be surprised if you see some weekend warriors making some baseball swings in a course parking lot near you soon.
The biggest crowd of the day was the one following Tiger, but with limited tickets to the event, the crowd was only a few people deep once Tiger made his way down the first fairway. But make no mistake: the Charlie Woods obsession is real. Full-grown adults were asking him for autographs and pictures, some of which felt a little invasive. But overall, the group’s vibes were laid back, which made for an extra fun morning.
Tiger and Charlie switched groups at the turn, but one of the amateurs in the first group was Arnold Palmer’s grandson (no, not Sam Saunders) Will Wears. He was rocking the signature Justin Thomas joggers-and-dress-golf-shoes look.
The amateurs who teed it up with the Woodses were really good golfers. Is there some sort of screening process that they have to go through before teeing it up with Tiger? If so, I regret to inform you all that my high-handicap self will never make it through.
I found myself in a good spot right behind Tiger for his tee shot on No. 2, where I snapped my favorite photo of the day.
After seeing a few (dozen) people yell to Charlie, I expected Tiger to stiffen up a bit. I know I would if it were happening to my kid (hypothetically — I have no children). But he didn’t seem put off by any of it and actually went out of his way to interact with the crowd a good amount. I guess that’s part of the magic of the PNC. The pressure is off, Christmas is a week away and morale is high.
A few interactions I jotted down with fans today:
- A young kid yelled “Hi Mr. Woods!” and Tiger looked his way and said back “Yo! What’s up?”
- Jordan Spieth was in the group ahead of Tiger and there were backups on tees a few times throughout the day. Tiger said “Hey, Golden Child!” the first time they overlapped on the tee. Then he did it the next few times, too. But I guess if Tiger’s calling you that, you know you’ve done something right.
- A fan spent a solid 30 seconds yelling trying to get Tiger’s attention to ask about Michael Jordan. Tiger’s reply? “Michael Jordan? I don’t know that guy.” That one got the crowd going.
- A toddler kept screaming “Hi, Tigey!” and Tiger thought it was hilarious. “Tigey? Who’s that?” he replied.
- After an amateur in the group hit an errant shot, Tiger was quick to mutter “Ah, the wind got that one!” The man has jokes.
- After taking his first shot of the back nine on No. 16 — and from 73 yards out — he referred to himself as a “team player.”
- And finally, after hours of ignoring autograph requests, Tiger sighed “Don’t worry. I hear you” to the dozens of adults who thought their 40th time asking for a signature might be the time they got a different answer.
Soon it was time for lunch, and Tiger and Charlie had chicken tenders and french fries delivered from the clubhouse while they sipped on Pepsi and waited on the 10th tee. The back nine is where the father-son moments were taken up a notch.
A universal truth of modern parenting seems to be that you are required to take constant photos of your kids. (Just today I received a video of my little sister performing Feliz Navidad with her fourth-grade class.) Because Tiger didn’t hit any tee shots on the back nine, his attention went completely to Charlie’s game.
Never mind clubhead position. Look at that video-taking stance! This is the type of dedication I want from my friends when I ask them to take my photo. Despite the gaggle of professional photographers and videographers taking swing videos of Charlie today, Tiger needed something he could access instantly for some real-time coaching. Huge “golf dad” energy.
After their round, I asked Tiger what his favorite moment of the day was. He said “all of them.” I believe him.
MISCELLANEOUS PHOTOS (AND EXPLANATIONS)
I’m not sure if it’s a Nike thing or what, but Tiger Woods took this vest on and off more times than Scottie Scheffler did on Saturday at the Masters.
We know that Tiger is a peanut butter and banana sandwich guy, but there was some sort of cheese sandwich with the note “Play well! Have fun!” on the bag. It took me back to elementary school, where my loving father would leave a note in my lunchbox if I’d thrown a tantrum before school.
Wholesome moment alert! Tiger went right up to a few young fans to say hi while waiting on the tee box.
All in all it was a historic day for the Rogers Report and — for me, personally — one I won’t soon forget.
Plus the tournament’s just beginning! We’ll see you this weekend.