Why Justin Thomas says Charlie Woods is the man to beat at the PNC Championship

Justin Thomas is off to a strong start in this 2020-21 PGA Tour season. The World No. 3 has racked up three top-10s in four appearances, with two of those top-10 finishes coming at majors.

And Thomas isn’t planning on taking much time off before the season resumes in earnest come January. This week, he’s playing in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico for only the second time, and he’s hungry for a win after several recent near-misses.

tiger woods charlie woods
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But it’s another December tournament that is occupying Thomas’ thoughts right now: the 2020 PNC Championship, formerly known as the PNC Father-Son Challenge, which he’ll play alongside his dad, Mike, December 18-20.

“That’s going to be our fifth major, my fifth major of the year and his major, so that will be a lot of fun for us,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the Mayakoba. “I know next week will be a little bit of off time for me. It will be a week grinding with my dad, so we’ll be getting ready for that and that will be the true end of the year for us.”

Given that he rarely gets to tee it up in televised golf tournaments, it’s understandable why Mike Thomas would think of the PNC as his “major.” But why would Justin, an actual major championship winner, think of it so highly?

That comes down to one thing, or person, to be exact: Charlie Woods.

Woods is an 11-year-old golfer who is already showing lots of promise on the course. He’s also Tiger Woods’ son, and the pair will be making their team golf debut at the PNC this month.

But Charlie will also play another important role at the PNC: Justin Thomas’ chief competition.

Allow Justin to explain:

“Tiger and I talked about [the PNC] a bunch. He brought it up a while ago that Charlie wanted to play and Charlie really wanted to play with us,” Thomas said on Tuesday. “I’ve obviously gotten to know him well and he knows my dad a little bit as well.”

Then he revealed the source of the Justin Thomas-Charlie Woods rivalry:

Tiger and Charlie Woods
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“For some reason, Charlie just always wants to beat me, it doesn’t matter what it is. Although he’s never beaten me in golf or a putting contest, he still talks trash just like his dad,” Thomas joked. “It will be fun. We’ll have that like inner tournament within a tournament, trying to shut his little mouth up, but it will be fun.”

So there you have it. If Tiger Woods competing alongside his 11-year-old son on TV wasn’t enough to get you to tune in to the PNC, Charlie’s quest to deliver an embarrassing beatdown on JT should do the trick.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham

Golf.com Editor

As managing producer for GOLF.com, Cunningham edits, writes and publishes stories on GOLF.com, and manages the brand’s e-newsletters, which reach more than 1.4 million subscribers each month. A former two-time intern, he also helps keep GOLF.com humming outside the news-breaking stories and service content provided by our reporters and writers, and works with the tech team in the development of new products and innovative ways to deliver an engaging site to our audience.