How Tiger Woods taught Charlie Woods to play under the spotlight
Charlie Woods had about an 8-foot putt for birdie Saturday on the par-4 9th hole at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando. The 11-year-old’s dad in this pro-family member scramble event, 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, stood behind. Charlie putted, and before his ball reached the bottom of the cup, Charlie started to walk after it as if it had.
“Oh, he walked it in. I think he knew he had it,” announcer Dan Hicks said Saturday during NBC’s broadcast of the PNC Championship. “Look at the look on dad’s face.”
Tiger laughed with Justin Thomas, the other pro in the foursome, and the two of them fist-bumped Charlie. He’s done it at home, too, Tiger said with a smile after the round.
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“It was a dead-straight putt,” Woods said. “That’s what we were talking about and make sure that he keeps his head still, releases the blade — which he did — and when he looks up, he saw it go in but make sure he gets all the fundamentals in check so that he can see the ball go in like he did.”
Before Saturday, Charlie had played golf with his dad. He had played in junior tournaments. After Sunday, he had played two rounds in front of a few hundred spectators. And before a few million more watching on TV. Quite the difference. Not quite, Tiger told his son.
“It doesn’t change, whether you’re playing by yourself, or add a few more people in the group, to tournaments, to whether you have millions of people back home on TV or thousands of people cheering,” Woods said. “The shots don’t change. It’s the same shots. You still have to place it from point A to point B. That’s the thing that Charlie’s learning and he will continue to get better at.”
The next step for Charlie, Tiger said, is nine-hole junior events. Then 18-hole events. Then 36-holers. From hour-and-a-half days to 10-hour days. Tiger’s played with hundreds of non-pros who have felt the pressure of large crowds watching. His advice for them will be the same for his son.
“The shots don’t change,” Woods said. “Whether, as I said, you’re by yourself, or you have thousands of people, or even millions of people watching, the shots don’t change.