Brace yourself folks. The tsunami, the tidal wave, the avalanche or whatever occurrence of overwhelming magnitude you can think of is ready to consume us. And no, we’re not talking about Omicron here.

Tiger Woods is going to be playing golf this week and, judging by the panting pandemonium and hysterical hoopla that’s been whipped up, we’ll all require some new kind of booster jag to combat the general fever.

Woods will contest the PNC Championship with his 12-year-old son, Charlie, in a carefree, smile-for-the-camera, hit-and-giggle occasion that will have some absurdly over-enthusiastic observers cooing like turtle doves at the height of the mating season.

The Woods duo are one of a variety of father and son double acts competing in Florida this week in a line-up that includes the likes of Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo, John Daly and the products of their respective loins. Nelly Korda, the dominant force in the women’s game, and her tennis major-winning dad, Petr, are also having a clatter about.

Of course, such will be the clamour that greets Tiger’s first outing on a golf course since his devastating car crash back in February, the rest of the field will be dunted so far into the margins they’ll probably have to buy a ticket to get back in.

A couple of weeks ago, Woods appeared for his first press conference in months at his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas and told all and sundry that he was lucky to be alive, how he would never play full-time again and why he was at peace with his overall situation.

He said his back and legs were in pain just sitting delivering his media sermon and, with a wry grin, he lamented the fact that the tentative shots he was hitting on the driving range as part of his laborious recovery were falling “out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to.”

Taking all that, and more, into consideration, we probably thought that Woods would hirple off from the Bahamas and hide away for another few months while sneaking out the occasional teaser video of his progress to keep the masses frothing at the mouth.

But, here he is, ready to show the world how a 45-year-old with a gammy back and shattered legs pokes a ball about a course. There’s almost a ghoulish fascination about the whole thing; like watching the Bearded Lady out on a date with the Elephant Man.

Throw in the presence of his son and every drive, iron, chip, putt, cough, wheeze and snort will be analysed, scrutinised, mulled over, pored over and talked over like one of Boris Johnson’s quiz nights. Prepare yourself for some quite startling proclamations and exhausting reverence from the commentary box. Woods is not ready to step away from golf. And golf is not ready to let him go either.

The other year, when footage of Charlie Woods hitting balls on a range was released, some onlookers went utterly berserk. “It’s the swing of a future major champion,” they chorused with unhinged, knee-jerk giddiness at a motion which, admittedly, was as smooth as a Christmas song by Nat King Cole.

The Tiger cub played in the PNC Championship 12 months ago and, a year on, the dissection of his development will, no doubt, be just as intricate as the microscopic study of his faither. 

Attention on Charlie is natural but for those already predicting great things from him, it’s always worth remembering that family fame and fortune never guarantees success. 

Gary Nicklaus, son of the 18-time major winner Jack, spent years chipping away at the pro coalface. Other legends of the game also have offspring who never got beyond the golfing foothills.

Whatever the future holds for both Tiger and Charlie, at least they get the opportunity to compete as father and son this week.

Woods, after all, was fortunate to escape with his life from that frightful crash. He was travelling in excess of 80mph in a 45mph zone when he came a cropper.

Mercifully, nobody else was involved. During his press conference the other week, Woods swiftly and sternly shut down any probings of the accident by directing the questioner to the police report. Woods wasn’t charged but the vagaries of affairs has led to continued speculation, whisperings, and conjecture.

Understandably, Woods doesn’t wish to dwell on his near-death experience. For some, that doesn’t satisfy their instinctive curiosity about the events which led to Woods having his third car-related incident in 12 years. Others believe we should stop sifting through the morbid wreckage and move on.

Either way, Woods lived to tell the tale. Well, what he wants to tell of the tale.

This week, a man and his young son will get to play golf together again. At least we can all be grateful for that.


Congratulations to Catriona Matthew and her European Solheim Cup-winning side on landing the prestigious Association of Golf Writers’ Trophy. A poll of members for our premier award returned a unanimous verdict. We’re now having a whip-round to have a bronze statue of Matthew erected in North Berwick…