Just How Good Of A Golfer Is Charlie Woods?
— 19 December 2023

Just How Good Of A Golfer Is Charlie Woods?

— 19 December 2023

The spotlight shines a little brighter when you’re following in the footsteps of a legend. Whether you’re LeBron James’ sons playing basketball; David Beckham’s son taking on football; Michael Schumacher’s son attempting to make it in Formula 1; or even Muhammad Ali’s grandson stepping into the boxing ring… the expectations are never going to be reasonable. This is especially true for Charlie Woods — the 14-year-old golfer who plays alongside his 15-time major championship-winning father.

Charlie doesn’t invite these comparisons simply by donning a red polo and twirling his clubs. From the press conference mannerisms to actual golfing mechanics, more often than not, it’s quite evident who his old man is (no DNA test required). And the crowd can’t seem to get enough of it.

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It’s hard not to like a kid who his own father once called “a bit on the chirpy side.”

At the PNC Championship a few years prior, when Charlie Woods first introduced himself to the golf world as the youngest player in the event’s history (11), he had some elite sledging ready to fire in Justin Thomas’ direction.

When JT went to the bunker to retrieve his poor tee shot at the Ritz Carlton’s short par-4 13th hole, he found a handwritten note next to it that read “draw hole” courtesy of the younger Woods.

The Thomas and Woods clans have a well-documented close off-course relationship, with Charlie Woods having just recently signed an apparel partnership with Greyson Clothiers (not Nike) which is notably worn by Justin Thomas.

The kid is also receiving a lot of love elsewhere from other golf pros. Two-time DP World Tour winner Eddie Pepperell, for one, has publicly stated that he has a £100 ongoing bet with his caddie, Jamie Herbert, that Charlie Woods will eventually secure a win on the PGA tour.

“Can’t tell you how confident I am. Make it £200,” said Pepperell.

Though this might not the best indication of how the high school freshman’s skills stack up against other junior golfers. He’s playing alongside one of the most famous athletes in history and his best shots are played all over social media while being publicly commented on by spectators in the gallery.

You can also forget trying to compare him to Tiger at the same age — who won four consecutive Junior World Golf Championship titles from 12 to 16 — as Charlie has only been playing competitive golf for three years. 2023 was the first occasion where Charlie played a full junior schedule, mostly at state and regional events.

Before 2020, he mostly played football (read: the soccer kind) growing up in South Florida. Given the open-air and relatively solitary nature of golf permitted more playing time during the pandemic, only then was the lad able to develop a deeper appreciation for the very sport that made his dad a household name.

Charlie’s game is said to have come a long way in that time. A combination of real talent and personal coaching from the the golfing GOAT has made him a very promising young prospect.

In the first round of the recent PNC Championship — the fourth consecutive one featuring an appearance from Team Woods — he drove 320 yards (292.6 meters) to just over the back of the green on the par-4 12th hole.

Charlie Woods has only played in 16 events that are officially registered in the Junior Golf Scorecard system, earning him a ranking of 1,326th in a database with 10,616 juniors. The same ranking system places him as the 86th best golfer in the Class of 2027.

He’s collected two victories — the latest achieved back in September during the second round of the Notah Begay III Florida Regional qualifier; hosted at Mission Inn in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida. Charlie Woods was also instrumental to his high school team winning the Class 1A Florida State Championship at Mission Inn last month (but this was not included in the JGS rankings).

Florida is known to produce plenty of talented Division I golf players every year. The iWanamaker ranking system placed Charlie as the 80th overall high school golfer out of 4,088 young men in the state. He was also ranked 9th as a freshman out of 657 and 28th out of 1,420 in Class 1A, which his school actively competes in.

“I sort of didn’t have the speed that he has at that age,” Tiger Woods remarked when assessing his son’s ability.

“But also, I didn’t have the equipment, either. The equipment is so different.”

He continued: “I think his speed has gone dramatically up since last year, but I think that more than anything, it’s just the fact that he’s grown so fast. The aches and pains of growing, just teenage life.”

Despite becoming eligible in 2022, Charlie has not yet participated in any AJGA events or tried his hand at qualifying for any USGA national amateur events. We’re not saying he needs to win the US Junior Amateur three consecutive years like his dad did from 1991 to 1993, although it would be interesting to get a better sense of how he fares against more national competition.

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At only 14, Charlie Woods still has a long time to develop as a player and decide whether he wants to seriously pursue it as a professional career.

Currently, he’s definitely on a promising trajectory: this time last year he outdrove his dad on the course for the first time. As young Charlie continues to compete in his age bracket and improve his skills, he should increase his ranking and cement himself as the potential superstar golf legends believe him to be.

To our knowledge, none of those other teenagers are getting coached by Tiger Woods.

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