We start with a father and son, enjoying a round of golf: Tiger Woods and son, Charlie, giving us some truly special images.
If you weren’t glued to the PNC Championship this weekend, here’s some of what you missed: An 11-year-old Charlie Woods, putting a five wood from 175 yards out, to just four feet away – for the first eagle of his career. An offspring that demonstrated so many similar cadences and characteristics of his dad, like walking putts in before they dropped. And iron play that resembled similar results to what we’ve been used to seeing his dad do for so many years.
But best of all – was this. The bond between parent and child that brought us so many poignant moments throughout the weekend.
These two days really had nothing to do with golf – and everything to do with family.
Unless Charlie happens to win a Masters one day – and embraces his dad the way Tiger embraced him when he won a Green Jacket last year – this story won’t get any better than right now. Don’t tell Charlie this, because he’s clearly just as competitive as his dad, but no one cared about his results this weekend. It was just an introduction to an 11-year-old kid, with a fantastic pedigree, bonding with his dad.
Eleven years ago, on the heels of a tumultuous Thanksgiving incident and multiple reports of infidelity, I stood here and irresponsibly said that I would never root for Tiger Woods again. But I failed to anticipate his ability to atone – to mature – and to become the best father he could be.
In a year that began with the ultimate tragedy, with the loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, this weekend, we were introduced to a new opportunity to embrace a familial relationship between Superstar and child. I was heartbroken over the news in January, most notably because Kobe had rehabilitated his image throughout his career, and was just beginning a new phase of his life. A phase where he would enjoy Gigi’s basketball career as a mentor, a father, and most of all, a friend.
Unfortunately and tragically, we never got to see that bond develop. But we will with Tiger and Charlie Woods.
And this holiday season, it warmed my heart to see an 11-year-old kid clearly wanting to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that’s what we saw from Charlie Woods. It was the pre-teenage innocence of wanting to be just like dad. And his dad being there – not as a 15-time major champion – but as his son’s biggest cheerleader too.
Charlie Woods might be a pro golfer one day. He might not. But the scenes from Orlando this week will prove to be much more meaningful than that: When the spotlight shone on a special relationship for the very first time.
One between teacher and student, mentor and mentee, and best of all, father and son.