James Colgan

December 17, 2022

The PNC Championship is a reminder of all of the issues which have modified for Tiger Woods in 2022.

Getty Photographs

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods’ day is over. In actual fact, it’s been over.

By the point 2:30 p.m. rolls round on the PNC Championship, it has been two hours since Tiger has swung a membership at something that resembles match velocity. It’s clear, even to the least-informed passerby, that Tiger will play no extra severe pictures, and can exert his injured proper foot as little as attainable. His day has retreated into 20-step segments — from his golf cart to the placing inexperienced, then from the placing floor to the greenside apron, and eventually, from the apron again to his golf cart.

At this level within the afternoon, his existence at Friday’s pro-am borders on ceremonial. And at this specific second, his viewers would look like a gaggle of strikingly enthusiastic college-aged boys.

“TIGER! TIGER!” The boys wail in his path as he zips up the fifteenth fairway. “PLEASE! TIGER!”

“I can hear you, you realize?” He shoots again, and the boys fall right into a match of laughter.

Tiger grins to himself and steps on the fuel.

Most of Tiger’s Friday afternoon on the PNC Championship was spent right here: within the golf cart.


On the weekend of Tiger Woods’ closing competitors of 2022, it’s maybe becoming to recollect the best way it started. In April, at Augusta Nationwide, finishing one more comeback.

After all, it didn’t matter that this comeback was in contrast to any of those who got here earlier than it. The spinal fusion had appeared small subsequent to the comminuted fractures of his tibia and resultant surgical procedures on his foot and leg, however those that watched the Masters anticipated what they at all times noticed from Woods at Augusta. For a short time, they even get their want.

However then got here the weekend, and one thing modified.

On the course, his recreation unraveled. He shot 78 on Saturday and Sunday. He completed in forty seventh place. He grimaced and grunted and groaned by each tee field and inexperienced.

However when he wasn’t swinging, one thing else was totally different. He wasn’t the identical stone-faced killer of his early years, nor was he the growing old but fearsome power of his more moderen ones. He waved to followers, he smiled at strangers, he supplied pointed and considerate responses, he cared much less about shielding his feelings. He appeared … joyful within the act of competitors.

“I struggle every day,” he stated on the time. “Every day is a problem. Every day presents its personal totally different challenges for all of us. I get up and begin the struggle another time.”

He continued the struggle from house, whilst his sport fell beneath siege. As LIV Golf exploded onto the scene in early June, luring a piece of golf’s finest gamers and the eye of the sports activities world, Woods privately wrangled help amongst PGA Tour officers and gamers. Later, he was instrumental in organizing the players-only assembly that resulted in wholesale modifications to the PGA Tour mannequin.

Extra publicly, he blasted the brand new league in a surprisingly candid Open Championship press convention and reiterated it once more at one other free-wheeling presser on the Hero World Problem.

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It was putting to see Woods so direct, so forthright in his intentions, and gorgeous to see him enter the fray of controversy so freely, notably after a profession devoted primarily to the other. Possibly that was an indication of how a lot has modified within the sport on this unusual, turbulent yr; or possibly it was an indication of how a lot has modified with its most outstanding determine.

“Sure … yeah,” he stated Friday when requested if he’s thought of his legacy extra this yr than in years previous. “The golf ecosystem has compelled everyone to rethink how we take a look at the sport and the way we have to make the sport higher. So this complete yr, for all of us who’ve been part of golf, we’ve had to have a look at it from a unique lens.”

A lens that focuses, amongst different issues, on the picture Woods will go away behind when his taking part in days are over. This yr, Tiger’s phrases, his actions and his time have all sharpened that new aim: making the sport higher. Even in a yr outlined by a Civil Conflict, he feels he’s finished that.

“I actually do [think the game is in a better place],” he stated. “I feel that golf has needed to relook at itself globally and the way it may be higher and the way we are able to make the portals for the following era of gamers higher. So, I imply, you take a look at the common age of the Presidents Cup, it was 26 years previous. It’s not just like the Ryder Cups and President Cups I used to be part of once I first got here out right here, a lot of the guys have been of their 30s and 40s. Golf has develop into youthful, and we have to have entry for these youngsters to have the ability to expertise that now.”

However the work of constructing golf higher isn’t solely about elevating younger expertise, it’s about elevating all expertise, about participating with new audiences, and about closing the gaps the game has lengthy struggled to fill. That’s what introduced Tiger to the players-only assembly, to the golf tech startup TMRW Sports activities, and barely extra just lately, to the PNC Championship.

When Woods talks a few youthful era, it’s clear he doesn’t simply imply on Tour. He’s speaking concerning the era he’ll by no means compete in opposition to. In regards to the one he would possibly by no means know. And about his son, who will be a part of him for the rest of the weekend on the Ritz Carlton Golf Membership.

The long run is the work of the elder statesman. It isn’t typically gratifying, however it’s no much less important. It’s the work of amplifying small tournaments, evangelizing for the game’s future, and ever-so-often, making good with attention-hungry crowds.

On this context, it makes a bit extra sense why Woods is selecting to play by appreciable ache with the intention to take part in an occasion he referred to as a “hit-and-giggle” as just lately as a yr in the past. In 2022, it’s not about him anymore. It’s about them. It’s additionally about Charlie.

Tiger and Charlie Woods have been laborious at work on Friday on the PNC Championship.


Tiger arrived on the sixteenth tee field on Friday simply because the youthful Woods plunged his tee into the bottom. Charlie’s rating has struggled at this time — the results of an obvious harm — however his swing has not.

Charlie strains up his shot, takes a number of follow swings, and addresses. He blasts his drive, and Tiger lets out a low chuckle.

“Oooh, I like that one,” Tiger says, the smile unfold extensive throughout his face. “Excessive tee, low ball?”

Charlie appears to be like again in his path and nods.

“Excessive tee, low ball.”

“You realize you get much less spin that means, proper?” Tiger says, prodding his son.

Quickly he’s delivering a lesson on the nuances of tee top, spin price, and shot form. It’s heady stuff, the type any golf nut would kill to listen to, however Woods’ meant viewers doesn’t appear fairly as eager on listening. Charlie is staring down at his clubface, his thoughts apparently elsewhere.

“Hey, that is necessary,” Dad protests, and Charlie lastly meets his eyes.

Tiger’s day is over, however his work is just starting.

James Colgan Editor
James Colgan is an assistant editor at GOLF, contributing tales for the web site and journal. He writes the Sizzling Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and makes use of his broadcast expertise throughout the model’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse College, James — and evidently, his golf recreation — remains to be defrosting from 4 years within the snow. Previous to becoming a member of GOLF, James was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Lengthy Island, the place he’s from. He could be reached at [email protected].

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