John Daly and his son, John Daly II, will defend their title in the 25th PNC Championship this weekend, but once again most eyes will be on Tiger Woods and his 13-year-old son, Charlie Woods, who teamed up to finish second a year ago.
The tournament, formerly known as the Father-Son Challenge and first played in 1995 when Raymond Floyd and his son Raymond Jr. won the first of their three straight titles, will be contested in the scramble format on Saturday and Sunday at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., after a pro-am on Friday.
Tiger Woods withdrew recently before the Hero World Challenge that he hosts in the Bahamas because of ongoing problems with his right leg, which he nearly lost in a rollover SUV accident almost two years ago, but he played alongside top-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland last weekend when they lost to Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in The Match VII.
Woods was able to ride in a cart for that event, and that’s what he will do while teaming with Charlie in the PNC Challenge for the third straight year.
“I like playing and I like competing, but unfortunately, I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want, I just can’t walk (18 holes),” Woods said about the state of his game right now, even though he has said he hopes to play in all four majors and a few other tournaments in 2023.
“Physically that’s all I can do, because I don’t have much left in this leg.”
About playing alongside Charlie, Tiger Woods said: “I just want him to enjoy whatever he’s doing. I’m supporting him wherever he wants to go, and obviously providing opportunities for that direction. As a parent, our job and responsibility is to provide opportunity and support. It’s been fun that he’s taken a passion to something that I’ve enjoyed.”
Tiger said that Charlie recently out-drove him for the first time, so the younger Woods will be playing from a longer set of tees than the last two years in the PNC Championship.
Team Woods is paired with Spieth and his father, Shawn.
“Anybody we play with will be a treat and will be a thrill, but it should be fun with Tiger and Charlie,” Shawn Spieth said on Thursday. “Is Charlie carrying it 260 or 290 (yards)? Everybody wants to know which one it is, so that will be fun.”
Team Spieth and Team Woods will tee off in the final foursome on Saturday, but not far in front of them will be Padraig Harrington and his son, Patrick.
The elder Harrington said he will be watching both Woods.
“Actually, to be honest, definitely (I’ll be watching) Charlie, Charlie, Charlie,” Harrington said. “But kind of just strange enough, after watching Tiger in The Match, to me, with a bit more speed and a bit more of that, like, you never doubt Tiger’s mental ability, and it’s always one where is he able to come back, and you don’t want to give up. He looked better physically at that match and the speed.
“And you know me, obviously, I’m interested in that stuff. You know, you’d never run Tiger off, but I actually think he might be even better than that, in a better place than I had thought. So I will take a little sneaky look at Tiger, no doubt. But Charlie, to be honest, I’m more interested in Charlie.
“It’s very interesting for a 13-year-old. And he did it when he was 11.”
Other former PNC champions in the field will be Stewart Cink and his son Connor (2013), Bernhard Langer of Germany and his son Jason (2019), Thomas and his father Mike (2020), and David Duval (who won with his son Nick Karavites in 2016) playing with his son Brady.
Also in the field are Nick Faldo and his son Matthew; Jim Furyk and his son Tanner; Nelly Korda and her father Petr, the former tennis star; Matt Kuchar and his son Carson; Tom Lehman and his son Sean; Justin Leonard and his son Luke; Mark O’Meara and his son Shaun; Gary Player of South Africa his grandson Jordan Player; Nick Price of Zimbabwe and his son Greg; Vijay Singh of Fiji and his son Qass; Annika Sorenstam of Sweden and her son Will McGee, and Lee Trevino and his son Daniel.
For first-round tee times, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html