Tiger Woods limps during a tournament he wouldn’t risk missing

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods and his 13-year-old son shared something else in common Friday in the PNC Championship. Both were both limping.

Only one was in a cart.

“His ankle is not exactly … well, it’s better than mine,” Woods said, referring to son Charlie rolling his ankle and hobbling along during the pro-am. “It’s just the way it goes, just kind of bad timing on it. But we’ll be ready come game time tomorrow.”

This is one tournament Woods — Tiger or Charlie — was not about to miss. The father broke his right leg in a Los Angeles car accident in February 2021. He now has plantar fasciitis and had to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge two week ago.

He would have needed to walk in The Bahamas. The PGA Tour Champions approves the PNC Championship. It pairs major champions with a relative. Woods is permitted to ride a cart.

However, this could be costly. Asked if playing the 36-hole tournament that starts Saturday could set him back, Woods replied, “Yes.”

“You know, I don’t really care about that,” he said. “I think being there with and alongside my son is far more important, and getting to have a chance to have this experience with him is far better than my foot being a little creaky.”

It was clear that this was the case on the Ritz Carlton Golf Club Orlando’s 1st Tee. Woods piped his drive down middle and Charlie moved to a forward set. Woods then pulled out his smartphone to capture the image.

It was evident from the outside.

The temperature was in low 50s. It is not an easy task to conduct a pro-am. Yet, spectators stood shoulder to shoulder along the hole’s length, three- or four-deep around tee boxes, in order to catch a glimpse at Tiger and his cub.

These occasions are very rare nowadays. Woods is competing in the event for the fifth consecutive year. He and his son were second to John Daly, Little John Daly, last year. The match included 10 holes made for television.

Woods was still recovering from the car crash a year ago.

He was able to play in the Masters (a tie for 48th), PGA Championship (he withdrew following the third round), and the British Open of St. Andrews (missed cut).

Woods doesn’t know what Woods has in store for the future.

“If I didn’t have the plantar feeling like this, then, yes, I could tell you that and I’d have a better idea,” Woods said. “But I’m supposed to be resting this thing and stretching and letting it heal. But I’m not doing that at the moment.”

Even though he smiled a lot after each round, he didn’t seem to mind.

His son is growing taller and is starting to fill out. The swing is fluid and balanced. Woods admitted last week, in a sheepish manner, that Charlie had finally piped him one on one during an exhibition match.

They will be paired with Justin Thomas’ father Mike, a longtime professional at the club, Saturday. Woods refers to them as “extended family.” Mike Thomas has a history working with junior golfers. Woods used have him look at Charlie.

“I haven’t spent near as much time in the last couple month as he’s grown so much, but he’s gotten so much stronger and longer,” Mike Thomas said. “He’s got a lot of skill, for sure.”

Woods cares more about his son’s playing than the results. These are the lessons that his father taught him many years ago.

“This is what I was taught by my dad, is understanding how to fix it when on the fly when I’m not around,” Woods said. “One of the reasons why I always tell him why we’re doing what we’re doing, so that he can retrace the steps. When he does get a little confused, he now knows where to look and what to do.

“And that’s where I’ve seen the biggest growth.”

Charlie Woods isn’t the youngest player on the field. Annika Sorenstam’s 11-year old son Will McGee makes his debut. Gary Player, 87, is also playing.

Jordan Spieth was intrigued by the sight and decided to visit them both in the locker room.

“That was new for me,” Spieth said. “There’s a dispersion on the PGA Tour, but it’s like 20 to 50, not 11 to 87. So that was cool to see.”

___

AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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