Padraig Harrington and his son, Paddy will look to topple Tiger Woods and his son Charlie amongst a host of other strong teams at this weekend’s PNC Championship at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
The two Paddies made the trip very much under the radar and find themselves out first at a tournament where the spotlight has been hovering over Woods, but not Tiger, as the world meets Charlie, Tiger’s 11-year old son for the first time.
“This is the first time Tiger Woods will ever be at a that he’s not the centre of attention,” Harrington smiled from the practice range on Friday. “It’s a really nice format this week, scramble over two days so it’s quite relaxed for most of the play. It’s a difficult finish on the golf course, 16,17 and 18 all water on those holes so if you’re competing and doing well, there is a substantial amount of pressure over the last couple of holes. Hopefully we’re going to have an enjoyable weekend.”
For three time major winner Harrington, it is a rare opportunity for his now 17-year old son Paddy to feature at the other side of the camera. Harrington’s videographer for his twitter tutorials that helped so many of us through lockdown this year, Paddy won’t be under a microscope like Charlie Woods this week with expectations of making a professional breakthrough; rather Padraig just hopes he’ll have seen enough to love the game of golf for many years to come.
“I’m not sure how competitive we are but to be honest we are here for the love of the game of golf,” said Harrington. “I really want him to enjoy the game of golf and have a love for the game of golf and hopefully he will be playing this game for another 70 years, I want him to remember days and weeks like this and have a genuine love of the game of golf which is all I could ever want for my son.”
Charlie Woods at 11 years of age is the youngest player in the field while Gary Player at the grand age of 85, is the oldest. Charlie will be the youngest to compete in PNC Championship history (Previous: Stefan Langer (12/2002), Javier Ballesteros (12/2002) and Thomas Lehman (12/2007)), however despite his tender years, Tiger insists his son is ready to enjoy himself this week.
“It is just so exciting to be part of something with my son and have an opportunity like this. I spent so much time with my dad and this is an opportunity for us to come together and enjoy ourselves and share a great moment like this,” said Woods. “It’s so much fun for me to see him enjoying the game– it’s just so cool for me to see him enjoying the sport, feeling the shots and hitting it as solidly as he is doing now.”
Another player super excitement to compete with his dad is Justin Thomas. He is the highest ranked player in the field ranked No.3 in the world. He is playing with his father, Mike who has his mother, Janice, on the bag.
“Tiger and Charlie mentioned they were going to play and my dad’s exact quote was that ‘I’m not getting any younger’ so we figured, let’s give it a try,” said Thomas.
“I don’t know how I could put into words how cool Saturday is going to be. I don’t think you ever could have told me that scenario would have happened – to be playing in a father and son with my dad and with Tiger and Charlie. It’s going to be a really special day for all of us but for me, I’m so close to my dad and we have such a great relationship that obviously we both want to play well as we are both competitive but this is going to be a great memory for us.”
Defending champion Bernhard Langer has won the tournament four times, twice with his son Jason. His daughter Jackie is replacing an injured Jason, marking her second appearance in the tournament alongside the two-time Masters winner. Annika Sorenstam is the only professional woman in the field. The ten-time Major winner is playing alongside her father Tom Sorenstam for the second time.