Charlie Woods misfires (86) amid some spectator ribbing

Charlie Woods, 15, after firing a round of 86 in a PGA Tour Cognizant Classic pre-qualifier, Tiger Woods' son will not be teeing it up at PGA National this week.

HARTFORD, Connecticut – Golf fans are usually among the most civil in all of sports, but many embarrassed themselves while watching 15-year-old Charlie Woods in a pre-qualifier for the PGA Tour’s Cognizant Classic at Lost Lake Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Woods, the son of legend Tiger Woods and a sophomore on the Benjamin School team that won the Florida state championship, was trying to take a gigantic step to compete at golf’s highest level. His odds of advancing against many seasoned pros were astronomical, but the horrid behavior of some of his gallery certainly didn’t help.

Charlie shot a 16-over-par 86 that included 11 pars but a 12 on the par-4 seventh hole, which was two holes after several unruly fans hoping to grab a souvenir from the bushes after a drive out of bounds. He had to contend with a growing following throughout his round with other spectators also overstepping the mark. One person reportedly asked an official trying to protect Charlie: “Who are you? The first marshal?” And a grandmother pulled her granddaughter out of school when she learned he was playing in the event, hoping Charlie would notice the youngster.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 16: Tiger Woods of The United States poses with his son Charlie Woods on the first tee during the Friday pro-am as a preview for the 2022 PNC Championship at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club on December 16, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

About 50 fans followed Woods threesome, which included Olin Browne Jr., son of 1998 Greater Hartford Open champion Olin Browne, who shot 70 to advance. “It’s definitely the most people I’ve ever seen at a pre-qualifier,” Browne Jr. said.

The nuisances continued throughout the round, and Charlie wasn’t helped by the lack of a rope around the course to keep spectators back. Tournament officials reportedly had to make repeated calls for spectators who were walking very close to Woods to get back on the cart path.

Charlie is accustomed to large galleries while following or playing with his famous father in the popular PNC Championship four times. But those events always have crowd control, but not the pre-qualifier, even with Tiger not in his gallery, though his mother, Elin Nordegren, was on hand.

The coup de grace was a “fan” attempting to get Charlie to autograph a copy of his father’s book, “How I Play Golf,” during the round. An official reportedly intervened to inform the person that it wasn’t allowed, who then caused a fuss while Charlie was teeing off. It was reported Charlie had a two-man security detail walking alongside him, which included a Martin County sheriff’s deputy.

Charlie was seemingly able to remain positive after his round as he was heard joking to his caddie, “That was some round, huh?”. His father’s influence was clear to see on his bag as a “Tiger” headcover was used for his driver.

Hopefully fans show the young Woods proper etiquette in the future so he can enjoy the game that he loves.

Worked as sports writer for The Hartford Courant for 38 years before retiring in 2008. His major beats at the paper were golf, the Hartford Whalers, University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball, Yale football, United States and World Figure Skating Championships and ski columnist. He has covered every PGA Tour stop in Connecticut since 1971, along with 30 Masters, 25 U.S. Opens, four PGA Championships, 12 Deutsche Bank Championships, 15 Westchester (N.Y.) Classics and four Ryder Cups. He has won several Golf Writers Association of America writing awards, including a first place for a feature on John Daly, and was elected to the Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame in 2009. He also worked for the Connecticut Whale hockey team for two years when they were renamed by former Hartford Whalers managing general partner Howard Baldwin, who had become the marketing director of the Hartford Wolf Pack, the top affiliate of the New York Rangers.

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