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Ailing Woods won't pass up father-son tournament

Tiger Woods Charlie Woods Tiger Woods, left, offers a fist bump to his son after Charlie - The Canadian Press

He may be a 15-time major winner and the greatest golfer of his generation, but first and foremost, Tiger Woods is a father. The opportunity to play with his son, Charlie, then, holds almost as much reverence as a trip to the Masters.

As the duo prepares for the PNC Championship, which has teams of a parent and child competing, it was easy to see the joy on Woods’ face.

“Any time I get a chance to spend time with my son, it's always special. And to do it in a competitive forum for us, it's – the last couple years have been magical. And to be able to do it again, we're looking forward to it.”

This will be the Woods team’s third start in the tournament. Last year, they finished a shot behind John Daly and his son John. This year, they’re coming in on the limp with both Tiger and Charlie suffering.

Charlie arrived with a taped ankle and while there was no indication of what caused it, he’s not 100 per cent.

“Well, it’s better than mine,” quipped the elder Woods at a press conference after the tournament’s pro-am. “It's just the way it goes. Just kind of bad timing on it. But we'll be ready come game time tomorrow.”

In addition to still recovering from the leg injury he suffered in a car crash in February 2021, Woods has planter fasciitis, a painful foot ailment which kept him out of the Hero World Challenge two weeks ago. He can hit golf shots, but he can’t walk. He’ll rely on a golf cart to get him around this weekend.

Woods said that the problem with his foot is also holding up the rehab on the rest of his leg, which means he has no idea when he’ll return to action in 2023. But that’s a problem that he’ll deal with on Monday. This weekend, being a father is at the top of the list.

“I don't really care about that,” he said of the potential risk to causing additional harm. “I think being there with and alongside my son is far more important and get to have a chance to have this experience with him is far better than my foot being a little creaky.”

Tiger was famously raised by his father in a way that some viewed as overbearing. Earl Woods had his son playing golf almost from the time he could walk, and it continued until his early days as a professional. There wasn’t much else in the son’s life but golf.

Tiger has taken a somewhat less domineering tact with his children, including his daughter, Sam, but has still helped guide them through the early stages of their lives.

“Family comes first,” he stated. “That was how I was raised. Family, education, then whatever sport I was playing.”

To that end, Tiger admitted that Charlie hasn’t practised as much for this year’s event due to midterm exams. Much of his preparation has taken place in a golf simulator after his studies have been completed.

Tiger and Charlie will no doubt show their competitive instincts this weekend, but even if they aren’t able to win, there will likely be plenty of smiles and memories. This is a weekend both will cherish, every swing, every putt, and every walk – or cart ride down the fairway.

The bond between the two is unshakeable and while these moments will be played out on television and in front of a gallery, it will be one they’ll remember forever.