Jon Rahm, arguably the hottest player in the game at the moment, will know only too well that he has the basic essentials to play in the PNC Championship at some point. The major he needs, the ’21 US Open, is already safely in the bag. However, if he is hoping to partner his child, Kepa, who arrived in the same year as that U.S. Open win, he will need to wait eight or so years, not just for the child to grow up, but to see if he has developed as keen an interest in the sport as his dad.
It’s probably safe to say that the thought would have crossed Rahm’s mind more than once as he watched, such as Vijay Singh and his son, Qass, and Tiger Woods and his son, Charlie, competing in the PNC at the turn of the year.
One of my daughters, who was representing IMG that week, said she had never seen an event so buzzing with goodwill.
“It was family time at Christmastime, and it wasn’t just the Singhs who looked like winners when they were leaving on Sunday,” she said. “They were all saying that they’d loved every minute of it.”
The parents were proud; the children were proud.
As a TV viewer, I found myself pondering the relationships of the family pairs. For them all, the tournament came across as payback time, be it for the fathers (or mothers) who had encouraged their sons (or daughters) to try golf all those years ago, or for the kids who must, at times, have resented their parent for not being around to watch them in the school play.
We’ll never know how aggrieved kids might have felt at the time but watching them playing with their parents in Orlando prompted the thought that they would happily have gone through the same childhoods again. All for the chance of playing in a single PNC week.
At the same time, though, you had to ask yourself what would have been going on in the touring parents’ heads in those years when they were missing out on one more important occasion in their children’s lives after another. As Dr. Andrew Murray, the DP World Tour’s chief medical officer, said in our chat at the Scottish Open of 2019, “People seem to assume that the tour doctors are dealing with a stream of back and wrist injuries when 10 to 15 percent of our work is related to wellbeing. The health benefits of playing golf are amazing, but life as a touring professional is stressful when you’re away from friends and family for 30 weeks a year.”
“I used to be good. It was neat to be able to roll back the clock for him to see what I used to be capable of.” – Tiger Woods
Looking through the quotes from the PNC, the most oft-repeated sentiment concerned how much it meant to be playing with a family member. Then, by way of something a little different, there was Tiger and Charlie’s joint answer to a question about what each had learned about the other’s game over the week.
Charlie: “I feel like I already knew what he was capable of and then yesterday (the Saturday when they returned a 59) that’s the best he’s ever played in a while, and that kind of shocked me a bit.”
When the laughter died down, Tiger started his side of the story with the playful reminder, “I used to be good,” before following up with a heartfelt, “It was neat to be able to roll back the clock for him to see what I used to be capable of.”
Out on the course, there was that delicious touch of role reversal in the Daly alliance, with John Daly II soberly clad and John Daly, a two-time major winner, anything but. Is it possible that each asked the other whether he was looking OK at the start of the day and, if that did happen, what do you think their respective responses might have been?
Not too many mentions were made over the week about the often-stay-at-home mums who must surely deserve as much credit as anyone for paving the way for what came across as a game of happy families. The spouses, still more than the fathers, would not have had an easy time of it in the days when they were left to do the explaining as to why the dad would not be back for the child’s birthday.
No doubt it can be hard all ’round even if the situation does turn out for the best. If, say, a son has always dreamed of doing as his father in winning majors, it probably doesn’t do him any harm to realize that sacrifices have to be made along the way.
Tiger, for one, wasted no time in getting that message across to Charlie. Back at the ’22 Open, he talked of how he had made it important for Charlie to understand the history of the game, and to understand “how hard I had to work to get where I was at. Nothing’s ever given to you; you have to go out there and earn it, and I had to earn it every step of the way.”
Meanwhile, the PNC fathers were no less proud of the children who had chosen another path. Qass Singh, for instance, who apparently hit a couple of the best 2-irons his dad had ever seen on the back nine on Sunday, was a once-promising golfer who chose to work in the realm of insurance.
I suspect that I witnessed the day when he decided that practicing as his father practices was not for him.
It was at a Players Championship and the light was fading fast as Vijay hit the remains of a bucket of practice balls before taking Qass, who was waiting in the stands to his rear, for his supper.
The child’s spirits were lifting until that moment when Woods arrived and, by way of a bit of mischief, emptied a fresh bucket of balls at Vijay’s feet.
Vijay found it funny. Qass, not so much.
Top: Tiger Woods and his son Charlie embrace on the 18th green after the final round of the PNC Championship. Photo : Paul Hennessy, SOPA Images, LightRocket via Getty Images
© 2023 Global Golf Post LLC
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Tell us how we can improve this post?