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A Victory for Father and Son

Akron, Ohio | Charlie Woods, 4 years old with a shock of dirty blond hair, got what he wanted Sunday afternoon.
Charlie’s older sister, Sam, was there in 2008 when daddy Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and she still loves to watch the video on YouTube. It was the only time either of Woods’ two children had been with him when he won a golf tournament.
He knows because they’ve reminded him.
Here’s how the conversation typically goes, Tiger says:
“They always say, Daddy, when are you going to win a tournament?
“They always want to know what place I’m in. Are you leading or not?
“That’s always a stock question. Not leading. Well, are you going to start leading? Well, I’m trying.”
You know how impatient kids can be.
Tiger brought Charlie with him to Firestone. Once he shot 61 on Friday to build a seven-stroke lead, it was pretty clear that Charlie would soon have his own YouTube video with his father and a trophy.
It was pretty good fatherly planning by Tiger considering he has now won eight times at Firestone, tying his eight wins at Torrey Pines and Bay Hill. That’s Tiger – always playing to his strengths.
Seeing Woods walk off Firestone’s 18th green and pull his red-shirted son to his chest was a sweet scene.
We don’t often get sweet from Tiger. We get quiet ferocity. We get angry.
We get awesome.
A friend texted me as soon as he saw Woods gather his son in his arms Sunday
evening with the message, “Tiger needs more scenes like his son hugging him.”
On Saturday afternoon, heading home to sleep on his seven-stroke lead, Woods leaned into the back window of the red SUV he was driving and bumped foreheads with his little man in the back before hop- ping into the driver’s seat.
If we know anything about Tiger, we know his everlasting affection for his late father, Earl. He loves his mother, Kultida, too and credits her for much of who he is. But Earl and Tiger, well, they were better together than Batman and Robin.
Now, Tiger has children of his own and Charlie is his only boy. Charlie is old enough now to understand what his father does and, if he’s still too young to fully grasp the magnitude of what his father has done as a golfer, he’ll soon know.
Charlie knows when his father makes a birdie and when he makes a par and he knows the difference. Sometimes father and son hit golf balls together, just like
Tiger and Earl did. “We just have fun,” Tiger says. “He
emulates what I do. I hit balls with him and it goes quiet for a while. I’ll look over my shoulder and he’s watching me.
“I see him hit it and his swing has started mimicking what I do. It’s how I learned. My dad kept it light and I fell in love with it. I’m not going to push him into it. If he wants to do it, so be it. I gravitated to golf. I played other sports but I always came back to golf.”
Charlie can fist pump. “It’s kind of cute,” his father says. Some things just come naturally. Is Charlie like all kids, a Rickie
Fowler fan? “He better not wear a flat bill,” Tiger says. No chance. Not with a father who is in the midst of rewriting golf history. Among the many impressive parts of Woods’ one-sided victory at Firestone was how routine it seemed. It’s a movie we never tire of watching.
Charlie Woods, right, watched his dad win Sunday.
The 61 on Friday was extraordinary. It was spellbinding for a time as Tiger chased 59, one of the few things he hasn’t accomplished in his PGA Tour career. From there, Woods’ biggest challenge was making sure he didn’t break his leg Saturday or Sunday.
The critics – and Tiger still has plenty of them – will argue that Woods has built his record on a handful of courses, as if there’s something wrong with that.
He’s won eight times at Firestone, eight times at Torrey Pines (including the 2008 U.S. Open) and eight times at Bay Hill. Throw in five wins at Muirfield Village,
five at Cog Hill and four each at Doral and Augusta National and that’s 42 of his 79 career victories.


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