Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, won the PNC Championship on Sunday, but they were hardly the story at the annual family event. Tiger Woods and his son Charlie shot their second straight 62 on Sunday, and again got the lion’s share of the coverage.
Team Woods finished seventh, five back of Team Thomas. Charlie was again terrific on Sunday, and dad even chipped in a pair of eagle putts as that duo posted a 29 coming home — though I’m guessing nobody is going to ever remember what the scores were.
It was as good of a weekend as anyone could have imagined. Tiger genuinely enjoyed himself, Charlie seemed to be having fun despite so much attention and nobody lost their minds about what the future could look like. There are plenty of takeaways from what was pretty easily the most intriguing PNC Championship ever, so here are three of the biggest.
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1. Charlie is good, and that’s OK
I’m a big “two things can be true at the same time” guy, and this was a big weekend for it. The first is that Charlie is really good at golf and has a finish that looks a little like a young Rory McIlroy. His short game has genuine touch, and his swing is a lot better than I was prepared for. He’s simply excellent at golf.
The second is that we don’t have to put the entire world on his shoulders in the various ways we put the entire world on the shoulders of famous people and their aspiring kids. Charlie is almost certainly not going to be a multiple-time major winner. That’s OK. He also looks pretty incredible for a 11-year-old golfer (admittedly, not a golf scene I know much about). That’s also OK. We can hold both at the same time.
2. “Memories for a lifetime”
Tiger celebrating his only son doing the only thing he’s ever done was cool as hell. That, maybe more than anything, is what I’ll take away from the two-day event. We’ve gotten glimpses of Tiger celebrating and championing others at events like the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, but as any parent knows, you don’t champion anyone as much or as passionately as you do your own child. The world of golf has been the only existence Tiger has known for the last four decades. To finally be able to let someone else into that world in the way he can let Charlie in has to be a very sweet thing.
“I don’t think words can describe it,” Tiger said. “The fact that we were able to have this experience together — it’s memories for a lifetime.”
3. My kids were into it
The thing I really was not prepared for was how much my own kids would enjoy watching another kid play golf the way Charlie played it. That was cool. I talked to a few other friends with kids of similar ages (mine are 7, 6, 4 and 1), and they all said the same thing.
Shane Bacon noted this earlier in the week, but golf is awesome because it’s so all-inclusive to folks of such different ages. I always think of folks like Tiger (or Gary Player, Justin Thomas or Greg Norman) as the folks my kids try to emulate. But what was unexpectedly interesting was that they were actually encouraged (possibly inspired?) by the young one — by his twirls and putts and fist pumps. They delighted in it. No matter what any of this looks like going forward, that’s a galvanizing effect that’s worthy of celebration in a year that has driven so many of us in such different directions.