Tiger Woods, Son Charlie Star in PNC Championship Round 1, Trail by 2 Strokes

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 17, 2022

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 17: Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie Woods, first bump on the second hole during the first round of the PGA TOUR Champions PNC Championship at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on December 17, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)
Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Legendary golfer Tiger Woods and his 13-year-old son, Charlie Woods, turned in an excellent team performance in the first round of the PNC Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday.

Playing in a scramble format, Tiger and Charlie carded a 13-under 59, placing them in a tie for second place, just two strokes behind Justin and Mike Thomas at 15-under.

The father-son Woods duo combined to record 11 birdies, one eagle and no bogeys in the first round of their third PNC Championship together.

Originally called the Father/Son Challenge, the PNC Championship has been played since 1995 and features PGA Tour or Champions Tour golfers who have won a major championship or the Players Championship in the past teaming with family members who are not currently professional golfers.

Tiger and Charlie have garnered the bulk of the attention in recent years since Tiger is arguably the greatest golfer of all time, while Charlie is a phenom who seemingly has a successful future in golf ahead of him.

Both Tiger and Charlie played well out of the gates, playing the front nine at eight-under par. Charlie was locked in with quality approaches and some lengthy putts, including a bomb of a birdie on No. 7:


Fast start for Team Woods.<br><br>Charlie Woods with a dart on No. 2 <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a> 🎯 <a href="https://t.co/CtDF1B7Ujz">pic.twitter.com/CtDF1B7Ujz</a>

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

Charlie Woods with an outstanding birdie putt from distance on 7 to get Team Woods to 6-under. 🔥<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/nbc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nbc</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/peacock?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacock</a> <a href="https://t.co/boOjoVtmUB">pic.twitter.com/boOjoVtmUB</a>

As solid as Charlie was, Tiger truly turned heads Saturday with his play, especially since he has struggled significantly with injuries over the past several years.

Last year's PNC Championship was Woods' first tournament in a year, but he entered this year's tourney with a lot more golf under his belt in 2022, including playing in the seventh edition of The Match last week.

That seemingly served Tiger well, as he confidently sunk birdie putts, showed great club speed on his tee shots and approach shots, and even chipped in for eagle:


Tiger from distance 👀 <br><br>Team Woods continues to roll <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/ilKbCrjKPk">pic.twitter.com/ilKbCrjKPk</a>


180 MPH ball speed. 306 yards carry. <a href="https://twitter.com/TigerWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TigerWoods</a> can still move it 👀 <a href="https://t.co/AfCZ0l5Tnt">pic.twitter.com/AfCZ0l5Tnt</a>


Early fist pump for Team Woods 💪 <a href="https://twitter.com/TigerWoods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TigerWoods</a> chips in for eagle <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/bZIjcRHFOd">pic.twitter.com/bZIjcRHFOd</a>


Walking them in early.<br><br>Another birdie for Team Woods <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/83jLqFw5bD">pic.twitter.com/83jLqFw5bD</a>


Another birdie, another fist pump.<br><br>Tiger Woods is on fire <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a> 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/rAVlKhCKI9">pic.twitter.com/rAVlKhCKI9</a>

Tiger found himself in such a groove that Jason Sobel of The Action Network marveled at how well he was putting in particular:

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Tiger Woods: Greatest scramble partner ever? Charlie keeps giving him looks and his dad has been absolutely lethal with that flatstick on the front-nine.

While the back nine wasn't quite as good for Tiger and Charlie, they still managed five birdies and closed on a high note when Charlie made a birdie putt on the 18th:


Charlie picked up the coin before it went in 😂 <br><br>Strong finish for Team Woods on 18 <a href="https://twitter.com/PNCchampionship?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PNCChampionship</a>. <a href="https://t.co/EY9E4eKreB">pic.twitter.com/EY9E4eKreB</a>

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Woods' performance on Saturday was the fact that neither Tiger nor Charlie appeared to be 100 percent healthy.

Tiger will likely always be banged up due to the multiple back and knee surgeries he has undergone, in addition to a nagging foot injury currently, but Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek also snapped a photo of Charlie favoring his ankle:

Beth Ann Nichols @GolfweekNichols

Tiger getting worked on in the cart and Charlie grabbing his ankle off the tee in considerable discomfort. Goodness, playing through a lot of pain in this group. <a href="https://t.co/XWTotONXxm">pic.twitter.com/XWTotONXxm</a>

Despite that, Tiger and Charlie put themselves in position to potentially win the PNC Championship in Sunday's second and final round after finishing second in the tournament last year.

Tiger has shown he can compete at a high level in the PNC Championship over the past couple of years, and while Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated was impressed by what the 46-year-old Woods did Saturday, he openly wondered if it could translate to bigger individual tournaments:

Bob Harig @BobHarig

It's only 7,100 yards... riding a cart... but Tiger really hit some nice shots today. Swinging the driver well and with plenty of speed. . . The plantar fasciitis will take care of itself in time... but will it be enough time for Genesis? Players? Masters?

Tiger is a 15-time major champion after shockingly winning the 2019 Masters, but he hasn't come close to winning another major since then, including a 47th-place finish in this year's Masters, plus withdrawing from the PGA Championship and missing the cut at the Open Championship.

While Woods' pursuit of the record for most major championships will consider to be a huge story until he retires, none of it matters at the PNC Championship.

Tiger has made it clear many times how much playing alongside his son means to him, and it seemed to motivate him to play great golf Saturday.