Tiger and son Charlie finished six shots back at the PNC, but the soon-to-be 47-year-old offered enough highlights to consider what recovery time could bring next year.
BOB HARIGDEC 18, 2022 6:21 PM EST
Tiger Woods and son Charlie watch a putt at the 2022 PNC Championship.
Tiger and Charlie Woods couldn’t duplicate their Saturday scramble 59, and finished six shots behind winners Vijay and Qass Singh.
ORLANDO — A three-week dose of Tiger Woods in December provided a glimpse of his greatness while also offering a stark reminder of the physical hurdles he faces—while remaining the biggest interest generator in golf.
It’s tough to make much noise in golf as the holidays approach, but Woods has been on our television screens in spurts the last three weeks, culminating Sunday with the final round of the PNC Championship.
That Woods and his son, Charlie, 13, were unable to muster any kind of a charge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort was hardly of any concern.
The fact that he was out playing again, enjoying time with his son, and still hitting shots that make you wonder how competitive he could be again if healthy, was all that mattered.
Tiger and Charlie managed a scramble score of 65, finishing six shots behind the winning team of Vijay Singh and his son, Qass. To forge a tie, Team Woods would have needed to equal their first-round 59, a tough task on a day where the putts were not dropping and fatigue—even in a 36-hole exhibition with a cart—was an issue.
The bright side for Woods: this is a long way removed from where he was a year ago at this event, when it was remarkable he even returned and yet put forth a very ominous forecast.
“I can’t compete against these guys right now, no,” Woods said at the 2021 PNC. “It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete with these guys and be at a high level.”
Less than four months later, he played in the Masters and made the cut. He played in two more major championships. He played again here this week, hitting the ball very well despite the plantar fasciitis diagnosis that knocked him out of the Hero World Challenge two weeks ago.
Still, he made it to St. Andrews, his biggest goal.
“It was a tough year but also one of the more rewarding years I’ve had in a while,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of setbacks over the last few years, so to be able to have—as I was alluding to this summer, I don’t know if I ever get back to playing St. Andrews in a British Open, but to be able to experience that maybe one last time at this level was very special to me.
“That was my favorite golf course in the whole world, and if that was it, that was it, to be able to possibly finish up my career there, I don’t know. That’s one of the reasons why I was kind of emotional because I don’t know if I’ll ever—I’ll play St Andrews again. I’ll play Open Championships in the future but I don’t know if I’ll be around when it comes back there again.”
Woods has numerous obstacles ahead with his badly damaged right lower leg, but to think how far he has come to this point is nonetheless impressive.
Even Charlie had some thoughts on that.
“I feel like I already knew what he was capable of and then yesterday, that’s the best he’s ever played in a while, and that kind of shocked me a little bit,” said Charlie Woods, to laughter.
“I used to be good,” Tiger Woods said, also eliciting laughter.
Actually, at times, he was quite good. Woods noted the 3-iron he hit to the final green on Saturday. Or several drives he hit that were longer than Justin Thomas.
“It was neat to be able to roll back the clock for him to see what I used to be capable of,” Woods said. “I was giving some grief. Anyone that knows what I used to be able to do was Bones (Jim Mackay, Phil Mickelson’s former caddie who now works for Thomas.) Bones got a big kick out of that yesterday.”
Woods reiterated that this week was about bonding with Charlie. It is the third time the two have played in this event together, and both were banged up. Charlie was dealing with a bad left ankle; Tiger with his own right foot injuries.
But he wasn’t going to miss this event. He said as much on Friday when he acknowledged that he could do further damage to his foot by playing but figured all the pain and possibilities were worth it.
There were fewer good shots on Sunday, and as the round wore on it became clear that Woods was struggling a bit more. There were a few too many indifferent shots and putts, and after a nice approach to set up a birdie at the 16th, Woods was woefully off on the par-3 17th, leading to a three-putt bogey—their second of the round.
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