“I’m curious. You know, your dad taught you. Is there any one ‘must’ that you had to tell Charlie that your dad taught you in the past. I’m just kind of curious if there’s one or two things there that you just want Charlie to know and understand.”
Good one, right? Credit to Paul Azinger, who prodded Tiger Woods, Charlie’s dad and Earl’s son, for something maybe we’ve all kind of wondered recently. For years, we’ve tried to extract the nuggets that the 15-time major champion has employed from his dad, his “pop.” But, now, maybe this is better: What has Woods picked and choosed for his own son, who is developing his own game and has been one of the stars over the past couple years during the PNC Championship, a major champion-child event that will again tee off at the end of the month, and will again include Tiger and Charlie?
No, the lesson wasn’t about the grip or the stance.
Or about the driver, or the irons, or the putter.
Though, the advice applies to all.
Just two sentences.
“No. 1, without a doubt, you get out what you put into it,” Tiger Woods said Thursday on Golf Channel. “And don’t expect any results if you don’t put any work into it.”
“Great. You know that is great advice,” Azinger said. “I mean, you will get out of it what you put in.”
Woods expanded on it.
“Yeah, this is not handed to you,” he said. “You got to go earn it. And you got to go earn it every day. This is not something that’s given to you. You got to hit those million putts before you become a good putter. You got to hit those shots on the range. You got to be able to go out there and do it. No one’s going to do it for you. You got to go do it for yourself.”
Woods was in the Golf Channel booth as part of his hosting duties for this week’s Hero World Challenge. He’s out this week — he withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, and that comes on the heels of multiple surgeries in his right leg — but he’s very much on the property at Albany Golf Club. And for just about an hour on Thursday, he dished on, in no particular order, Justin Thomas, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Tom Kim, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Max Homa, who are all playing in the event.
But possibly the best insight came over questions about his son. Though the elder Woods is benched this week, he has said he expects to play in the PNC.
“Tiger, how is Charlie’s game?” analyst John Wood asked Woods on the broadcast. “That’s what everybody’s wondering right now with the PNC coming up.”
“Oh, it’s getting better,” Woods said. “It’s getting a lot better. He’s starting to learn and ask the right questions. I think that’s the key to try to get a little better.”
Azinger asked a notable follow-up:
“Is that it, you think, asking the right questions, more so than getting the right advice?”
“I think so because if you ask the right questions, you’re coming from the direction of I’m trying to understand it,” Woods said.
Toward the end of Woods’ time in the booth, the broadcast team wanted to know about distraction techniques, another reported Earl move — that his son has used on his son. We saw it firsthand even. GOLF’s James Colgan wrote this, from last year’s PNC:
Charlie stood to Tiger’s left, rolling putts as he worked on his putting stroke. As the younger Woods took a practice stroke, his father yanked his own putter and began walking in his direction. Finally, Charlie addressed his ball, pulled back his putter and wham — Tiger tossed a ball right through the center of Charlie’s line of vision. Charlie, to his credit, was unperturbed by the interaction, rolling a clean putt straight through the area where his dad’s ball had just ricocheted through.
On Thursday’s broadcast, Azinger wanted to know if Woods was still at it with his son.
“Do you mess with Charlie on some of those distraction-like little tricks?”
“It’s nonstop,” Woods said. “No, it’s nonstop.”
“Really?” Azinger said.
“It’s trying to get him — if I can get into his head, that means someone else can get in his head,” Woods said. “It’s getting to a point where I can’t get in his head and then no one else can get in there, either. That’s what my dad believed in.”
“We’ve seen some examples of him trying to get into other peoples’ heads at the PNC,” announcer Dan Hicks said, a reference to some of the back and forth between Charlie and Justin Thomas, a Woods family friend.
“You got to be willing to be able to take it, absolutely,” Woods said.
On the course, Collin Morikawa, who finished as one of the first-round co-leaders, tapped in a birdie. Woods then continued.
“Zing can attest to this. I mean, you played in the era where certain players, as you know — where not going to mention anybody — but certain players would do certain things with clubs and shoes and timing, try and get in your head.”
“Would you care to mention some names, Zing?” Hicks asked.
“We’re not going there,” Woods said, “but, yes, that was still prevalent when I came out here, and a lot of these guys don’t know about any of that stuff, but people did that stuff.”.
“Gamesmanship was a big part of it,” Azinger said. “And you know, it was kind of that old era, the ’50s, ’60s kind of.”
“That is correct,” Woods said.
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