Generally speaking, typically, I don’t watch much of the season-ending events. The QBE Shootout for example doesn’t interest me in any way shape or form. In a strange year, I thought that the ability to watch meaningful golf in December was a nice change. In all likelihood, the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open will be the last Major Championship that we ever see during this time of the year. Events like the CME Championship from the LPGA garner more attention for me than say, the QBE and/or PNC Championship.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a family first kind of guy and to be able to see some of the games best play with their children, grandchildren, or father’s is really nice. Or in the case of Team Sorenstam, a mother/son duo. Does anyone else think that Annika could still play at a very high level on the LPGA TOUR? Or, is it just me? Admittedly, I didn’t watch much of the coverage, but there was enough going on to get me to tune in a little bit. I’m guessing that for anybody reading this article, already knows where this article is going.
Watching another duo this weekend was really nice. That duo was Tiger Woods and his son Charlie. It was the first time that Team Woods has made an appearance in this event. When the dust settles it’d be easy to make the assumption that this event has never had the viewers or ratings that it saw this year. Ratings that could have been better with more morning coverage, as some people readily complained about over social media. Any event that Tiger Woods plays in, moves the needle. Really, it’s that simple! But, what about when you can “double your pleasure”?
Has any 11 year old ever gotten the television or media exposure that Charlie Woods received? By the time Tuesday morning had come this week, I was, what I referred to as being “Charlie’d Out”. The coverage was borderline suffocating and “force-fed”. As it turns out, there was at least one other person who echoed the same sentiment as me. It seemed like that every time that I had turned around, there was a Tweet about Charlie Woods.
The golf masses were clambering about the “heir apparent” to the Tiger throne. I have no doubt in my mind that like so many other junior golfers (Little John Daly among thousands of others) the younger Woods has a beautiful golf swing. Mechanically and technically speaking, it is very sound and impressive to watch. Many a golfer, young and old, wish that they had a move like that. Myself included. Charlie just happens to come from pretty good stock. After all, his golf pedigree is pretty outstanding. As the young man gets older and as he continues to develop physically and mentally, Charlie will have access to resources that many other junior golfers will never have access to. To the victor goes the spoils and all that. This fact is not his fault by any means, he had no control over who his father was. Talk about “lucking out”, right?! People on social media were saying that they wished that Tiger was their father. Whether it was “tongue in cheek” or not I would never say that. That said, I’m quite happy and was very fortunate to have the father that I was blessed to have.
There’s really only one thing that I didn’t like about Team Woods. It had nothing to do with them, but, it had to do with the media. Both social media golf fans and publications. Every move and seemingly every swing that Charlie made was covered by Golf Digest, Golf Channel, and countless of other golf websites and podcasts. Whether it was his swing or leaving a note in a bunker for Justin Thomas. As far as I’m concerned, the coverage and reactions bordered on a “sickness”. People suggesting that he was going to win The Masters, play in a TOUR event by 21 (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, by any means), and countless other unrealistic expectations were placed on an 11 year-old’s shoulders. Once upon a time, I was a hockey coach for 8 to 11 year old’s. The confidence oozes out of kids that have just a “smidge” of that ingredient and you see the swagger. A large percentage of them have that air or bravado about them. I understand though, maybe Charlie isn’t phased by the spotlight and being an 11 year-old is fun. At that age you’re fearless. Again, look at who his father is and he’s been raised in the spotlight.
On December 17th, I had reached my limit building on the coverage, boldly predicting or suggesting that there would be a “Charlie Tracker” in the fashion of all of the other “golfer trackers” on social media. By the next day, I wasn’t wrong. A “Charlie Tracker”? C’mon man! Seriously?! I haven’t looked, but I’m certain that someone, somewhere also has Charlie Woods’ WITB.
I will only make one prediction about young Mr. Woods. On the heels of what I assume is a private school education, he will have good grades. He will, in all likelihood receive a golf scholarship and attend university at his father’s alma mater, Stanford. In a way, it will be reminiscent of what Lebron and son “Bronny” James are going through at the moment. “Bronny” is, at the moment, a 4-star recruit for college basketball.
They walk alike and talk alike. Heck, that acorn did not fall far from the tree at all. They stood alike too. It was nice though. As brief as my watching the event was, it was enough. Enough to watch Tiger being a dad, relishing the moment, and having a good time playing golf with his son. Recently, I’ve found myself liking Tiger more than I ever have. That said however, the bar was set pretty low. I’ve never doubted his skill or denied his accolades. It was the person that I wasn’t particularly fond of. In my opinion, as far as I’m concerned, Tiger has become more likeable and relatable in recent times. It seems like he’s enjoying life and we all know that Tiger loved playing with his son in a TOUR event this past weekend.
It wasn’t too long ago when, at a U.S. Kids Golf event that Charlie teed it up. With his father on his bag as his caddie, video emerged of the Woods’. Taken from a vantage point that appeared to be from the bushes, that video came off with a stalker/paparazzi type of vibe. It’s brutal, let father and son be exactly that. Let Charlie be a kid.
For the sake of the young man, I just hope that golf fans and media alike, pump the brakes, even just a little bit.
The expectations that have been placed on young Woods this past weekend is both unfair and more weight to carry than a highly touted D1 (Division 1) college golfer or similar can handle. Let alone an 11 year-old kid! Tiger’s life has been under a microscope for the bulk of his existence. In this day and age of cell phones and social, the good news is that Charlie is NOT under a microscope. Unfortunately, the potential of what Charlie’s facing is akin to being examined under the “Webb” space telescope.
Rest assured though, if there is anyone that can help Charlie navigate these waters, there’s no better person in this universe than his father.
Until The Next Tee!!