January 21, 2022

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Justin Thomas’ dad marvels at ‘how good’ Tiger Woods’ game looks ahead of PNC Championship

4 min read

ORLANDO, Fla. — It is no shock that Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, will be paired with Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie, in the course of the opening spherical of the PNC Championship on Saturday.

They did so all through the 1st round a 12 months back, and they are neighbors in South Florida.

But what was appealing is what the older Thomas — a previous club pro and even now a trainer to his son — said about playing with Woods just lately.

“It really is nuts how superior he is hitting it and how considerably he is hitting, for what he is been by means of,” Mike Thomas claimed Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Golfing Club.

That should to increase a little bit much more juice to what currently guarantees to be a higher-depth weekend for what is commonly a reduced-essential, offseason golf occasion amongst significant champions and their loved ones users.

Woods will perform aggressive golfing for the to start with time in a year — because he and Charlie, now 12, tied for seventh at this exact same event a calendar year back, in point.

A Feb. 23 motor vehicle crash in which Woods endured considerable accidents to his proper leg and foot still left him hospitalized for weeks and immobile for months. Only lately has he emerged to show the development he has created, which contains actively playing golfing with his son, anything that appeared inconceivable in the aftermath of the incident.

“My excitement level is significant just for him staying out below and being someplace other than his home and acquiring to see a great deal of common faces,” explained Justin Thomas, a 14-time PGA Tour winner who has most likely invested a lot more time with Woods in the earlier several months than any other player.

“And know expending time with Charlie is a huge offer to him. So I know he’s psyched for that element.

“In phrases of competing, I imagine his anticipations are incredibly small. But at the similar time, he is who he is for a reason, so I’m guaranteed he’ll be pissed off if he does not participate in nicely.”

Woods, who turns 46 on Dec. 30, experimented with to maintain the anticipations down throughout his news convention at the Hero Planet Obstacle on Nov. 30. He was self-deprecating as to how far he was hitting the ball, and cautioned that he was a long way from enjoying competitive tour golfing.

He acknowledged that “strike and giggle” golfing may be in his long run, and so here he is at the PNC, with a Friday early morning professional-am time a very first serious possibility for the planet to get a glimpse of his match.

“We all know him perfectly enough to know that he’s never ever heading to confess to currently being close to exactly where he’d like to be,” Mike Thomas said. “A lot more importantly, the place he would typically be as opposed to now. Much more importantly is his shot, regardless of what he has right now. … He is however got some speed. He is bought some duration. Hits a ton of really, seriously flush photographs. I suggest, I was stunned.”

A yr ago, Charlie Woods stole the present, astounding these who viewed with how comparable his mannerisms were to people of his father, who has gained 15 big championships and 82 PGA Tour titles.

But now the emphasis will once more be squarely on Tiger.

“It reveals how Tiger’s altered,” mentioned Padraig Harrington, the European Ryder Cup captain, who is actively playing with his son Paddy. “Let us face it. Tiger was often excellent to participate in against at his peak. But he was a employed professional. He permit no person in. No person knew who Tiger was. “But now as a mother or father, he is a entirely different particular person. He is altered. You can find no way he would be playing any golfing at this phase correct now only for he needs to have that knowledge with his son. As you develop more mature, you comprehend there is a lot more to everyday living. Your spouse and children turns into the center of your everyday living. And it is really obvious with Tiger which is the scenario.

“He would do something to give his son an expertise he can’t overlook. Tiger isn’t going to will need to be taking part in golfing this week. I am sure if this wasn’t on now, you would not see him at the very least for 3 or 4 a lot more months.”

Irrespective how Woods plays, the speculation as to when he will return is sure to be unlimited. Can he return in time for the Masters? Is The Open up at St. Andrews additional very likely? Does he perform at all in 2022?

The PNC is considerably far more subdued than any other public golf he would participate in. It is just 36 holes. He is authorized to use a golfing cart. And the format is a scramble, which indicates the two players strike a tee shot, play from the greatest one particular and keep on that process till the hole is concluded.

Very last calendar year, with a sizable progress from the junior tees, Charlie usually strike drives properly into engage in that meant his renowned father did not even want to hassle. It will be exciting to see how generally Tiger hits a driver or any tee shots, specified his situation.

“I’m certain some days he is like, ‘Oh, wow, I can do this,’ and there’s some times wherever it is really like, ‘Oh, I’m not definitely guaranteed,'” Justin Thomas claimed. “But [playing this week] is very remarkable and unbelievable.

“But I know that he somewhere deep in there had this circled on his calendar of wanting to come back here.”

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