‘Big difference between pain, injury’: Tiger Woods explains why Charlie is playing

Charlie Woods, Tiger Woods

Charlie Woods and Tiger Woods on Saturday at the PNC Championship.

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Tiger Woods says there’s a difference between pain and injury. 

And that’s why, he said on Saturday night, his 13-year-old son, Charlie, is playing at this weekend’s PNC Championship, despite a noticeable left-leg limp, and at least one time where he tumbled over after a tee shot.

The explanation came during an interview with SiriusXM Radio’s Brian Katrek after Tiger and Charlie shot a 13-under 59 during the first round of the major champion-family member event. Here is the complete exchange: 

“Charlie, it’s a learning process for you; you’re being asked questions,” Katrek began. “How much are you learning not just about golf but about what your dad goes through on a day-in, day-out basis?”

“I mean, I found a new respect for him now after getting a minor — very minor — injury,” the younger Woods said. “I wouldn’t really call it an injury — I’m just hurt. But just to see what he’s going through and how I have just like a fraction of it and how much it hurts, and it’s just cool how he’s gotten to where he is now after all he’s been through.” 

“Well, there’s a big difference, BK, between pain and injury,” the elder Woods said. “And so, this is just pain.” 

“Yeah,” Charlie said.  

“If you’re injured, you’re not playing,” Tiger said. “This is just a little bit of pain, and it’s game time, so we just go out there and we suck it up together. As I said over here, we’re perfect yin and yang — he’s got a left foot, I got a right foot, so we got two good feet. We’re good.”   

“It’s all you need,” Katrek said. “Spoken like a true football coach.”

According to NBC/Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay on Friday, a Woods family friend, Charlie rolled his left ankle while hitting balls on a range ahead of the tournament; Tiger, meanwhile, told Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis that the limp was due to “growing pains.” Whatever the case, Charlie joins his dad with leg issues — the elder Woods is battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot, an extension of injuries to his right leg suffered during a car crash early last year, and he’s also battled various ailments throughout his career. 

Tiger Woods, Charlie Woods
Charlie, Tiger Woods interviewed on TV, and it was 7 minutes of eye rolls, jokes, jabs
By: Nick Piastowski

In Team Woods’ press conference after Saturday’s first round, Charlie was also asked about his left leg. Here is that exchange:

“How much does your ankle hurt today, and how much do you have to adjust your swing to compensate for it?” a reporter asked. 

“On some shots, it hurt a lot,” Charlie said. “Walking was tough. But it was — it was all right. It wasn’t that bad.”

“Hey, he got a cart, so it was all right,” Tiger said. 

Despite the issues, Tiger and Charlie birdied 11 holes and eagled one on Saturday in the scramble format. They played Sunday in the final pairing and started two shots back of leader Team Thomas — Justin Thomas and his dad, Mike. 

“How much fun is this, you and Charlie? Is it as much fun as it looks like it is?” Katrek asked on SiriusXM Radio. 

“No, it’s more. No, it’s way more,” Tiger said. “It’s way more fun. I mean, we were having a blast out there. Again, to be able to share family moments like this — you know, this is what we do all the time at home. And we’re used to it. People have seen it for the last couple years, but this is what it’s like each and every day at home.” 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.