Asking Charlie Woods to reach the heights his dad, Tiger, did on the PGA Tour will be impossible. Putting aside all the winning that Tiger did on the course, the cultural impact of his achievements sent a shockwave through golf. Tiger became the first black golfer to win a major and is second all-time on the win list for major championships with 15.
During his career, Tiger Woods, before controversy later in his career, was one of the most marketable athletes. Having a mixed race star in golf, Tiger’s dad was Black and his mom was Vietnamese, opened the door for a lot of companies to want Tiger to be involved in advertising.
Sports stars often would like to see their children follow them into sports. As for Charlie, he will find the expectations once he reaches the college or professional level will be scrutinized heavily by the media because of who his dad is. Black sports news shows that how he handles that will likely have a large impact on how his future in golf will go.
Many sons and daughters of professional athletes have attempted to go down a similar road. While Ken Griffey Jr. eventually exceeded his dad’s accomplishments on the baseball diamond, many who attempt to duplicate their parents’ successes fall well short of their goal.
Following in Dad’s Footsteps a Hard Ask
Charlie will face many challenges on the way to the top. Anyone with any type of notoriety can face something similar in sports. While there may be a sponsor’s exemption or two for Tiger Woods’ son, if he can’t play consistently, his stay in professional golf will be short. The PGA Tour is a merit-based system where players must play to a certain level to keep their tour card.
Many young golfers bounce between the lower-level tours and the PGA Tour several times before sticking. Ultimately, many never make it. Charlie’s pressure as the son of perhaps the best golfer of all time won’t make things much easier.
He may be wise to keep an eye on how Bronny James does at Southern California. Bronny, the son of NBA legend LeBron James, debuted at the Division I level this year with the Trojans. However, Bronny’s health issues held him back.
A scare with his heart delayed his debut with USC until later in the season. Thus far, Bronny has been a role player, averaging 4.5 points per game. While it is possible that Bronny can find a way to professional basketball, it will be a hard climb for someone who doesn’t have his father’s seemingly natural gifts.
The pressure is always immense from the American sporting public. As a culture, Americans bristle at the idea of nepotism, so anyone with a notable parent in any field will have to work harder and show they came by their skill honestly.
Raised to be Golf Star
Tiger Woods’ dad, Earl, pushed Tiger to excel at golf. Earl broke racial barriers himself by being one of the first African-American baseball players at Kansas State University. Tiger quickly showed an acumen for the sport and was able to gain national attention for his golfing prowess.
During a 1978 television appearance on “The Mike Douglas Show,” Tiger was pitted against comedian Bob Hope in a putting contest. As he grew up, Tiger would be competing in a number of high-level amateur tournaments. Tiger would eventually earn a golf scholarship to Stanford.
In 1996, Tiger won the NCAA championship at Stanford. But it quickly became a career certainty that Tiger would find a home on the PGA Tour. Tiger would turn pro in August 1996 and fit right in with the top players.
1997 Masters Left No Doubt in Wood’s Ability
People felt Tiger had potential. But even his most ardent supporters were shocked by how easily Tiger won the 1997 Masters Tournament. Tiger finished 15-under par, beating his closest competitor by nine strokes. Over the course of Tiger’s career thus far, he has picked 110 PGA Tour victories and 15 wins in majors.
Tigers’ popularity rivaled nearly any golfer in the sport’s history, along with Arnold Palmer. Woods’ career went downhill quickly after he won the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff against Rocco Mediate. He had a number of knee injuries that compromised his mobility in power.
He also had several off-the-course issues. Tiger had problems with drugs and domestic issues that prevented him from sustaining his career. Tiger had one last hurrah in 2019 when he came from behind to win the 2019 Masters Tournament.
It was a shocking comeback story. Many believed Woods’ injuries and personal demons would prevent him from reaching the top again. During the 2019 Masters, Tiger won despite not having the lead after 54 holes in a major for the first time in his career, according to up-to-date sports news.
Playing With Dad Provides Some Levity
Charlie and Tiger playing at the PNC Championship was a good opportunity for both. While participating in the event, Charlie got a look at the excitement and media attention his 47-year-old father still gets. It is still unknown how much Tiger has left in him.
He is recovering from an ankle fusion surgery and has already struggled with other injuries in the past. Team Woods, as they were known, ended up shooting a 125 (64-61) during their two rounds at the event. That was good enough to finish six strokes behind Team Langer, which won the event.
The highlight for many observers was Charlie holing in a chip shot on the ninth hole. Like his dad’s signature move, Charlie unleashed a fist bump when the shot went in. Charlie hopes he will develop some of the same features his dad had on the course.
Charlie may not reach the same level, but current sports news shows he will have a sizable following interested to see how far the apple fell from the tree.
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