ORLANDO, Fla. — It was sure to occur ultimately.
Charlie Woods, the lookalike son of the best golfer of this technology, couldn’t stay a secret eternally. Not with that charisma, and particularly not with that golf swing.
However it’s honest to surprise if anybody supposed for him to be fairly this well-known.
On Saturday afternoon and all week on the PNC Championship, the youthful Woods has been arguably extra common than his 15-time main championship-winning father. him, proper? The folks right here on the Ritz-Carlton Golf Membership may love Tiger Woods, however they adore younger Charlie.
It has been not possible to trace the variety of of us who’ve tried to draw Charlie’s consideration via two days in Orlando. From the second the 13-year-old Woods arrived on property on Friday, these on-site appeared decided to make him hear their voices. Some screamed in his course, chanting his title and sharing their adulation. (“We love you” was a frequent providing from the gallery, although it remained to be seen how, precisely, a 13-year-old with a whopping whole of three public appearances had earned that love.) Some witnessed the scene and retreated to humor.
“What number of of you might be out right here to observe my dad heat up?” Justin Thomas teased on Saturday morning whereas the lots encircled.
Others resorted to extra direct types of communication. On the eighth tee field Friday, a grown girl begged Charlie for a photograph. Later, one other bargained for a “fast autograph.” On the seventeenth tee on Saturday, a gaggle of vacationers at a course-adjacent rental property sported cutouts emblazoned with Charlie’s face.
It’s typically odd to bear witness to the cult of celeb, however significantly so when the topic of that celeb remains to be three years away from receiving his driver’s license. Tiger’s buddy and longtime supervisor, Rob McNamara, caddie Joe LaCava Jr. and PGA Tour safety have every made efforts to maintain Charlie’s focus away from the restricted variety of followers in attendance. Strolling close to Charlie, it’s simple to know why so many members of Tiger’s crew really feel the compulsion to guard him.
“Everyone pays a sure value for all the pieces they get in life,” Padraig Harrington stated of the youthful Woods on Thursday. “The extra well-known you might be, the higher you’re doing, you’re going to must put up with that. The whole lot, all the great, all this, all this cash we make out of golf, the approach to life it’s given us, there’s at all times one thing you need to pay again, and generally it’s a scarcity of privateness, even for Paddy [his son] at instances. However as I level out, we’d quite it that method as a result of that’s why we’re doing so effectively.”
Charlie, to his credit score, has neither upset his courters, nor acknowledged them. On this regard, he has apparently taken effectively to his father’s teaching. He’s like Tiger in some ways, and his aptitude for the dramatic is definitely one in every of them. He’s a showoff, an entertainer. When the chance to compete right here collectively first introduced itself, Charlie was absolutely in favor of attending.
He arrived in Orlando in 2020 as an 11-year-old with few expectations and loads of intrigue. Nearly instantly, he was a sensation — his astonishing means, his distinctly Tiger-like mannerisms, his precocious smile.
Now, as a 13-year-old, it’s clear his fame has morphed into one thing even larger. Rumors about his carry distance have been a subject of driving vary dialog early within the week. (“The query is whether or not he’ll carry it 260 or 280,” Harrington stated with a chuckle.) His obvious left ankle damage created headlines. On Saturday, his shoe choice was one of many event’s trending matters.
However at the same time as a golf sensation, even because the youngster of one other youngster famous person, and at the same time as an enthusiastic participant on this weekend’s proceedings, he’s nonetheless a 13-year-old. Is it unreasonable to ask that he be handled like one thing resembling one? Tiger absolutely understood the stakes of Charlie’s introduction to the world, however his look on the PNC was by no means meant to breed this.
“He’s a terrific teammate. He’s my son. Now we have enjoyable on the market. On the finish of the day, that’s what it’s all about,” Tiger stated Saturday. “It’s about us having a possibility to bond. We do that at residence on a regular basis, and also you guys are actually seeing what we do on a regular basis at residence. We simply have enjoyable. We needle one another. We encourage one another. It goes forwards and backwards.”
Contained in the ropes, it’s clear the Woodses usually are not serious about celeb. Even because the cameras and the crowds swarm, the connection between Tiger and Charlie stays strikingly regular. They snort collectively, they compete collectively and, way more typically, they roast each other.
“It simply — it’s simply an incredible relationship, and it simply deepens the bond between father and son,” Tiger stated. “It’s been unbelievable over time to have the ability to share this stage and this ambiance with him.”
The ambiance will develop even bigger on Sunday, when Crew Woods (-13) enters tied for second, simply two strokes off the mark set by Thomas and his father, Mike. Ought to Tiger and Charlie mount a Sunday comeback, the legend of the youthful Woods will solely develop, and so too will the eye upon him. In some ways, that’s an inevitability. There isn’t a returning to a time “earlier than” Charlie Woods, simply as there’s no stopping the intrigue that surrounds his life.
Maybe Charlie is prepared for it. He’s as effectively geared up as any 13-year-old alive to deal with what lies earlier than him. However maybe this isn’t about Charlie in any respect. In spite of everything, it was Charlie’s grandfather, Earl, who first puzzled the identical.
“That is my treasure,” Earl stated in 1996 of his personal teenage prodigy. “Please settle for it and use it correctly.”
We’ve been right here earlier than, sure, however possibly this time we’ll be smart sufficient to pay attention.