By: Doug Ferguson, Associated Press
Publication: Monday, December 20, 2021
ORLANDO, Fla .– Tiger Woods may not be ready for round-level golf. He can still deliver quite a spectacle.
In a remarkable comeback from a car crash 10 months ago that severely damaged his right leg, Woods and his 12-year-old son Charlie set a tournament record with 11 consecutive birdies and pushed John Daly and his son of college until arrival Sunday. in the PNC championship.
Daly and John Daly II, a freshman at Arkansas, shot 57 in the scrambled format and won by two strokes. It was possibly the widest Woods had ever smiled after a second place finish.
âThe fact that I could have that opportunity this year – even a few weeks ago, we weren’t sure whether I would or not,â Woods said. “But here we are. And we had the best time of our lives.”
The birdie streak began on the seventh hole when Woods hit a half-corner in one foot. Charlie made a 10-foot hole on the next hole, bending down to pick up the marker before the ball was even in the cup, another moment when the confident son looked a lot like his dad.
It was like that for the last couple of hours, Woods was hitting the irons a lot and Charlie was doing the putts. They briefly took the lead after a birdie on the 14th and the margin was slim the rest of the way to the very end.
Daly, playing two groups behind, birdied the 16th hole to regain the lead. He and his son stayed ahead when Team Woods played too hard on the closing par 5 hole and each of them missed 8-foot birdie putts. They shot 57 with just four pars, two of them on par 5s.
“We thought we had to birdie every hole of the last nine, and it turned out that was so,” said Woods. “But man, what a blast it was. We just had a blast all day.”
Daly and his son made two putts for a birdie on the 18th and set the record that mattered. They finished at 27 under par, beating by one the mark set by Davis Love III and his son three years ago.
âYesterday was it. I rode so badly,â Daly said. “I finally got some decent shots. He played amazingly. I played a little better today. I made him happy.”
The most famous encounter between Woods and Daly was in 2005 at Harding Park during a golf world championship, which ended in the playoffs when Daly threw three 15-foot putts.
Woods was charging again – Tiger and Charlie – except Team Daly didn’t flinch. Daly hit the 7 iron against the wind at close range on the 16th for a birdie, and he putt 4 feet on the 17th to stay in the lead.
The most popular offseason event that pairs major champions and a family member together suddenly felt tense on a hot Florida afternoon, all because of Woods and everything that got him to replay .
Woods suffered multiple injuries to his right leg on February 23 when his SUV traveling at around 85 mph crashed into a median and down a hill in suburban Los Angeles.
He said amputation was a possibility. It took him three months to get up on crutches. And he ended the year with a red Sunday shirt, shooting birdie putts and delivering short irons that led to birdie after birdie and a pursuit that looked like the old days.
It wasn’t just about Woods. His son, who was competing in the event for the second year in a row, delivered the goods the entire way, particularly a 5 to 4 foot iron on the 17th par-3 that gave them a tie for the lead at the 18th.
Team Daly held him firmly behind them.
Just a month ago, Woods first posted a three-second video showing him hitting a short iron with the message “Making Progress”. He was hitting bullets at the back of Albany’s booth in the Bahamas two weeks ago. He was able to drive a cart at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, which helped him get through the 36-hole event on a flat course.
He kept insisting that playing at a high level against the best players in the world is still a long way and a lot of work ahead of him.
But there was no shortage of birdies, big hits and hopes for a fairytale ending.
âCompetitive juices, they’re never going to go away,â Woods said. âIt’s my environment. It’s what I’ve been doing all my life. I’m so grateful that I can have this opportunity to do it again.
âEarlier this year it wasn’t a very good start to the year and it didn’t look very good,â he said. “But the last few weeks, pushing as hard as we’ve been doing over the past seven monthsâ¦ and having this opportunity to be able to play with my son and have those memories, it’s worth it.”