Charlie Woods will have a story to tell his school friends after becoming possibly the youngest player to snatch an eagle in an official PGA Tour recognised competition on day one of the PNC Championship in Orlando.
The 11-year-old son of 15-time major winning Tiger Woods blasted out a 175-yard second shot at the par-5 third hole to just four-feet and calmly rolled-in the putt on the Ritz Carlton course. And there was none happier than his soon-to-be 45-year-old father with Woods rushing-up to hug his son, who had moments earlier stared down his 5-wood shot, in the best-drive scramble format, and pumped his right fist in seeing how close his ball was to the flag. There had already been two million views @PGATour within an hour of the youngster’s shot.
“It was a nice little hooky 3-wood that held and rolled-up there and he made the putt,” said Woods. Team Woods was the only pairing to eagle the third hole and it helped set-up a brilliant start with father-and-son racing to seven-under after seven holes and then eight-under at the turn.
And there was a hilarious ‘trash-talk’ incident at the 13th when Justin Thomas, playing in Woods’ group, found a note lying beside his ball in a greenside bunker, that had been written by Woods but with son, Charlie placing it in the bunker. ‘Draw Hole!” It read after Thomas and his father had won the three prior holes in a clear side-bet taking place with both teams halving 13.
Team Woods then birdied 14, bogeyed 15 but then birdied 16 and the final hole in a 10-under par 62 that left them sharing sixth place and four shots behind the combination of Matt Kuchar and son, Cameron who teamed to post a 14-under par 58 to be two clear of Team Singh.
“All I was making sure is that we had fun and we did,” said Woods following the round. “Having the entire Thomas family out there and being able to share all these moments and the conversations we had all day, and amongst each other, was priceless.
“The thing is I have seen Charlie hit the ball like he did today, all along. A lot of people haven’t seen him but a lot of the shots he hit today I have seen back home at the Medallist Club this entire year, during this entire pandemic. He’s hit these shots and in the few events he’s played in he’s hit a lot of these shots we saw out there today. It was just a matter of stringing it out for three-and-a-half hours. It was a totally different deal today.”
And Woods spoke of the priority out there today and that to make sure his only son had fun: “I think he did have fun and he enjoyed being out there and the fact we got off to a quick start helped and him hitting some of those incredible shots, and to carry how he was hitting it on the range to the golf course that is what we talked about and that’s so different to playing at home to playing tournament golf.
“Junior events are only nine holes so this was his first 18-hole event, so he’s looking at then golfing to 36-holes days, so he’s going from an hour-and-a-half day’s to then 10-hours and that is just a natural progression.”
Tailing out the 20-team field is Team Harrington who were struggling right from the outset in bogeying the first and taking double at the second before playing the remaining 16 holes in six-under for a three-under par 69.
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