Tiger, Charlie Woods upstaged by Langer duo at PNC Championship

A walking, talking definition of privilege is the child of a professional athlete making good in the same sport.

Hanging out in locker rooms, getting pointers from and taking reps with the best of the best creates a clear advantage. Not to mention emulating Dad.

The result? The Griffeys, Bonds and Boones in MLB. The Mannings, Matthews and Longs in the NFL. The Currys, Barrys and Bryants in the NBA.

Yet there is something endearing about the precocious progeny of pros emulating what a parent does superbly. Which brings us to the PNC Championship, where parent and child duos competed over 36 holes in a scramble format this weekend.

The draw — no surprise — was Tiger Woods and his 14-year-old son Charlie. Two years ago they shot 11 consecutive birdies and narrowly lost to John Daly and John Daly II, and the tournament drew more television viewers than the Open Championship.

The Woods weren’t in the hunt this year, finishing tied for fifth at minus-19 despite Charlie holing a chip-and-roll on No. 9, enabling other duos to gain attention.

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, 66, won his fifth PNC Championship and third with his younger son, Jason, a 23-year-old Penn graduate who works as an investment banker in New York. The duo also won in 2019 and and 2014, when Jason became the youngest champion at age 14, and Bernhard won with his son Stefan in 2005 and 2006.

The Langer family tied the Floyd family for most wins in the tournament. Raymond Floyd won the Father/Son Challenge — as the tournament was called until 2020 — in its first three years, 1995-1997, with son Raymond Jr. and again in 2000 and 2001 with son Robert.

The Langers began Sunday three shots behind Matt and 16-year-old Cameron Kuchar, but birdied nine of the first 11 holes to seize a lead they would not relinquish, finishing minus-25, two shots ahead of Dave and Brady Duval. Defending champion duo Vijay and Qass Singh finished third at minus-22 and the Kuchars came in at minus-19.

It’s natural for parents to champion their child’s exploits, and Bernhard Langer was no exception even though this was the 124th tournament title of his career.

“I was just enjoying watching my son hole putt after putt and hit great shot after great shot,” he told NBC. “I’ve seen a lot of great golf in my life but watching him today was unbelievable. To watch somebody who plays only once in two weeks to come out here in these conditions and circumstances and hit 16 of our 18 putts.”

Jason Langer in turn, lauded his father: “He drove it incredibly well. We were saying as we walked down the last couple holes that I hit a quite a few good shots but whenever I was out of play or not in the best spot, he always was reliable and hit it into the center of the green.”

There is a long waiting list to play in the PNC Championship. The Langers can count on getting another invitation.

“I call this the fifth major,” Bernhard Langer said. “It’s truly the best there is because it’s all about family. To have the opportunity to play with your son or daughter and show them the ropes … is just amazing.”

A golfer has to have won a major or the Players Championship to even get on the waiting list. Current LPGA star Nelly Korda played with her father, Petr, and Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam with her 12-year-old son, Will McGee, in this weekend’s 20-team field.

McGee provided several highlights, making a 40-foot eagle putt Saturday on No. 3 and telling Sorenstam, “Slow down Mummy, I want to enjoy this moment” before holding her hand as they walked the fairway on No. 18 to cheers Sunday.

“It’s the best week of my year, and of my life,” said McKee, standing with an emotional Sorenstam during a television interview.

The round Sunday was played in fierce winds after a driving rainstorm flooded the course Saturday night. While warming up on the driving range Sunday morning, McGee got a pro tip from Justin Thomas.

Thomas handed the 100-pound McGee several golf balls to stuff into his pants pockets so “I won’t fly away,” McGee said.

McGee also found himself on the other end of the microphone, conducting an interview with Charlie Woods at the turn. They agreed that listening to advice from their parents is something they tolerate but don’t necessarily enjoy, even though their parents are considered the greatest of all time.

McGee asked whether Charlie pays attention to Tiger’s tips because his mom “gives me advice on my swing, but I don’t listen often.”

“It doesn’t happen very often,” Charlie responded. “When I get desperate, yeah.”

“Yeah, I understand,” McGee said with a wry smile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *