iger Woods was asked to recount the first day he walked without crutches or any other assistance during his first news conference since being involved in a one-car accident that could have killed him.
“I probably did it a little early than they indicated,” he said, a classic Tiger non-answer that revealed everything.
Of course, he’s ahead of the doctors’ predictions since he’s Tiger Woods. As someone who thrives on a challenge, this could be the most daunting one he’s ever encountered. When asked how long it took him to be able to hold a news conference by himself after being immobile in his hospital bed for several months, Tiger said it took him longer than he thought. But look at him now, he’s already able to play a few holes.
Who’d have guessed it back in February, when his accident was covered around the clock by the media and medical personnel said it was unlikely he’d ever play, let alone walk again?
So, nine months later, here’s something I didn’t expect to be typing: In a few weeks, Tiger and his son Charlie will compete in the PNC Championship in Orlando.
It may sound insane, but event organizers have a space reserved for Woods should he return to his senses. Tiger may think it’s too soon, but bear with me. While Tiger downplayed his chances of making a comeback, stating he “has so far to go” in his recuperation and “isn’t even at the halfway mark,” he still sees a future in the game, saying, “I’ll play a round here or there, a little hit and giggle, I can do something like that.”
I’m not sure what else to call the PNC Championship, a 36-hole team tournament that pits 20 winners of notable titles against a family member in a scramble format.
Tiger joked about being four years away from going in a cart, referring to his time on the PGA Tour Champions. So, what’s this? The PNC Championship has kosher carts. As far as his admirers are concerned, give him one of those disabled flags and let him drive it on the green if necessary. In other words, walking 72 holes isn’t an issue at the PNC, which makes a return to the Tour a non-starter for the time being. He’ll be able to drive his cart, skip shots, and put his ball in his pocket whenever he wants, while Charlie handles the heavy lifting. In short, this is the ideal location for him to reintroduce himself to competitive golf.
Tiger stated he’s been stroking putts with “old faithful” and that he can out-chip and out-putt the world’s greatest golfers. Allow Charlie to hit driver from the forward tees and hit approach shots while Tiger performs his magic around the green. Tiger routinely skipped striking tee shots when they originally played in this friendly exhibition last year, knowing that he couldn’t smash one past Charlie.
Is that too much for a 12-year-old to handle? Perhaps, but Charlie shown a year ago that he can handle the spotlight. He flourished in the limelight, and in reality, he robbed his famous father of the limelight.
I have a feeling Tiger has the PNC tournament noted on his calendar for the reasons I’ve indicated. What did I take away from watching Tiger and Charlie play at last year’s PNC Championship?
Tiger had never looked happier in my life.
Tiger has had a difficult year, and there’s no greater therapy than a smile.
This is also why he has put in so much effort to get to this stage. It’s no longer about reaching the summit of Mount Everest or completing the 19 majors. Tiger explained that it’s all about being able to be part in his children’s lives, noting that he’s “not always the hip, cool parent” and needs to stay up with the jargon.
Tiger could need a few of days to just be Tiger. Tiger’s exclusive interview with Henni Koyack was at its best when he talked about his son and how a poor temper was influencing his golf scores. Tiger reminded Charlie that it was fine to vent his frustrations, but that he should never allow it effect the next shot.
Tiger taught him, “The next shot is more essential than breathing.”
The PNC Championship can be a great instructional moment for Charlie and Tiger, proving to himself that he can not only accept his current station in life with a right leg that may never be the same as it once was, but also appreciate his new role in the game, even if it’s as a ceremonial golfer.
Even riding in a cart with his son, chipping and putting and doing some form of what he loves most is a victory, and a milepost on his approach to returning to the PGA Tour and, as he put it so beautifully, “checking off a tournament here or there.”
Both father and son can possibly benefit from participating in the PNC Championship more than they realize.