Nick Rodger Nick Rodger
Golf is still intriguing and unpredictable. There are days when you begin with a nine, a seven, an eight, a six… And other days when it’s almost hard for you to get moving. A familiar sound?
I sometimes employ the time-honored technique of the great Sam Snead, who softly hummed “Blue Danube” to sustain a delightfully steady and rhythmic stroke, in pursuit of something like a half-decent swing – a chore that elicits the kind of rant you might hear from Priti Patel’s office.
That is better said than done, of course. The increasingly frantic nature of golf at my level doesn’t really lend itself to the calculated cadences of a Strauss Waltz, with strokes that often have as much graceful timing as a rushed bathroom break at a dingy highway rest stop. It is more like the Benny Hill Show theme song’s feverish, offbeat mayhem, to be brutally frank.
If you’re after sweet golf music, the news at the end of last week that Tiger Woods and his 11-year-old son Charlie are going to be playing together at the PNC Championship next month had excited observers erupting into a massive chorus.
One of those occasions where people rub hands, smile for the camera and giggle – a bit like “Family Fortunes” in golf – is the end-of-season gathering in Florida, where major champions play alongside their children. The involvement of Woods and his heir apparent, however, will bring to the proceedings a significant amount of suspense. It is understandable the widespread focus.
The most TV attention young Charlie has received so far was in 2019 at Augusta, when Woods welcomed him after his Masters win. It was his fifteenth major victory, but the first one that his son had seen him win. The trip next month is Charlie’s first under the bright lights. Hi World. Hi World.
Back in January, when life seemed so carefree and people assumed that Covid-19 was the next shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral, Internet video filmed behind a Woods shrub standing on a driving range as his son plummeted into a sleeker swing than a series of Nat King Cole albums sparked a hand clapping hysteria.
The crowds cooed with predictable, knee-breaking excitement, “That’s a major-winner swing,” More video of the Woods pair training in perfect harmony a few weeks ago shows once again that, predictably, Charlie has a natural feel for the game. The fact that this summer he won a few junior tournaments in Florida added to the curiosity.
Tiger’s own father, Earl, as soon as he was able to hold a bat, sought attention for his son. Tiger did not lead a conventional life from a young age, and he embarked on a never-ending yet fruitless search for anonymity away from the golf course in the years that followed. It’s hardly shocking that Tiger takes a protective approach to his offspring in this era of mass publicity and hype.
When it came to father and son golf, old Tom Morris and young Tom Morris set a phenomenal pace back then. After all, eight Open wins between them was a respectable haul.
In a career marked more by trips to the PGA Tour qualifying school than spectacular success, Gary Nicklaus, the son of 18-time major winner Jack, spent years trying to make it into the professional ranks.
In this capricious career, family fame and wealth definitely don’t guarantee success. Charlie Woods, like many other boys and girls, is “getting into the game.” at 11 years of age, in the words of his father. But, unlike all the other guys and gals starting out in golf, he is the son of a global celebrity and perhaps the greatest player of all time. To him, good luck.
AND more than one element.
In Tier 4, what’s life like? Or are you in Tier 3 maybe? Or maybe in Tier 2 you are the ruler? Wherever you’re in Scotland, you can still play golf, at least. What about the levels? Well, there will be tears in your eyes when you stick another knife in the burn, no doubt.
The Royal & Ancient game has been something of a social-distance success story in this deflationary year.
With a few health-conscious behavioral changes before, during and after a round, it has provided thousands with a calming escapism from the pandemic, as well as being a tonic for body and mind in times of desperate need.
There were a few things to do for our friends in England, Ireland and Wales.