Tiger and Annika’s wholesome remarks, JT’s step-in caddie | Rogers Report

The Woods family at the PNC Championship.

The Woods family at the PNC Championship

Getty Images

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hello, friends, and happy Sunday from the PNC Championship! We dealt with a little rain in the morning, but it ended up being a beautiful day here. I was very excited to see that Steve and Izzi Stricker were paired up with Tiger and Charlie Woods because I am all-in on the Stricker family. When asked about any pet peeves he had on Saturday, Stricker laughed and mentioned that his decisions get overridden by the gals in his house a lot. Just when he got ready to give an example, his wife, Nicki, and daughter Bobbi yelled out to him that it wasn’t true. They seem to have so much fun together, and I had a blast watching them all interact on the course on Sunday.

More on the Strickers later. I headed straight for the range when I arrived on site at the PNC Championship, and a lot of the family interactions got me reflecting on why I love this event so much. I think that after such a tumultuous year in golf — from lawsuits to LIV to a merger — this family event is the perfect palate cleanser to prep for Christmas. Watching the Strickers laugh on the range, Sam Woods beam as she handed her dad his putter and Will McGee tear up because he just had the best day of his life with his mom was exactly what I needed. It got me excited to return to Rhode Island for Christmas this week and make memories with my own family. Not on national television, of course. Although I do think my siblings and I could hold our own on a reality TV show.

OK, back to the fun stuff!

Justin Thomas’ step-in caddie

It may not have been the weekend Justin Thomas had hoped for at the PNC Championship, but he had the perfect finish to his round on Sunday when he holed out from the bunker.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that JT doesn’t have his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, on his bag there! Justin Thomas’ father-in-law stepped in for a few of the final holes at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club on Sunday. How fun (and hopefully not too nerve-wracking) is that?

Mike Thomas, Justin Thomas and JT’s father-in-law Getty Images

It’s fun to see people who kind of fell into the lives of professional golfers get to be a part of the action. I bet Jillian Thomas’ father never imagined he’d end up looping in a professional golf tournament, and I can’t imagine that JT’s grandmother ever pictured herself hanging out with Tiger Woods on a Saturday afternoon like she did this week.

Annika Sorenstam and Will McGee’s emotional interview

I named 12-year-old Will McGee the official MVP of the PNC Championship on Friday, and I would like to take a moment to double-down on that take. It’s particularly fun to watch McGee play in the event because you can tell that this doesn’t feel normal for him. He knows it’s super cool that he’s playing in this event, and he definitely doesn’t take it for granted.

Him tearing up while reflecting on the week is the cutest thing ever. My 11-year-old sister would kill me for telling you all this, but she’s not a loyal reader of this column so I’m going to anyway: She sobbed at the Taylor Swift concert because she was just so excited to be there. And what a cool moment for Sorenstam! I hope they play in this event together until the end of time.

The Woods family

Sam Woods was on the bag for her dad again Sunday. Her job was a little more difficult than it was a day earlier — they took carts due to the weather on Saturday but were on foot for the final round. Tiger and Sam were the only Woods family members in Sunday red. Charlie did his own thing and went with navy pants and a maroon pullover.

I have no idea why Charlie Woods went with that color scheme, but I have my suspicions.

The Woodses went with chicken tenders and fries for lunch again. I’m very curious to learn how one ends up with a job that includes delivering chicken tenders and fries to a 15-time major champion on the golf course. Do you apply for that position on LinkedIn? If so, I’m interested.

Tiger receiving lunch at the PNC Championship Claire Rogers

I particularly enjoyed hearing Tiger reflect on his favorite parts of the week.

The Stricker family

OK, friends, bear with me here. The below image is definitely not the best photograph I’ve ever taken, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.

From left, Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Sam Woods and Bobbi Stricker Claire Rogers

Over on the left we’ve got Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods walking down the first fairway at the PNC Championship. And on the right we’ve got Sam Woods and Bobbi Stricker chatting as they caddie for their dads. How awesome is that? It’s like if the average “bring your kid to work day” was about 500 times cooler.

Izzi Stricker called it “nerve-wracking” to tee it up with Tiger on Sunday, but she hid it extremely well. No offense to Steve Stricker or the Woods boys, but Izzi Stricker was definitely the most fun golfer to watch in the group. She smoked her driver, stuck approach shots and drained a handful of putts.

Despite wearing horrible walking shoes, I found myself getting a little sad as I made my way to the 18th tee box with Team Woods and Team Stricker. I look forward to this event all year and it always goes by too fast. I had so much fun hanging out with other media members this week, catching up with caddies and watching my favorite players tee it up. It’s an event that always reminds me how lucky I am to be working in golf.

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