The fairly famous Justin Thomas and his father Mike are playing in the PNC Championship alongside the ridiculously famous Tiger Woods and his son Charlie. Everyone wants to know what it’s like when the foursome tees it up. What they talk about. How they treat each other.
Mike Thomas summed it up with one brief comment when he said, “The first thing we’re going to do is needle each other. So, it’s probably less sage advice that he’s passing on and more of verbal comedic abuse just because that’s what we do.”
In other words, it’s like you playing golf with your buddies except these four can actually play really well and most amateur golfers are — well there’s a reason that some people are pros and some aren’t.
When it comes to meshing a youngster’s game with three adults, Charlie Woods can hold his own. It’s well known that Charlie likes to talk trash, but Justin has gentle comebacks for him and also enjoys dishing it out. We are pretty sure Justin can take it, too.
As an example of the kind of good-natured ribbing that goes on between Team Thomas and Team Woods, you need only to hear the story of the championship belts which are awarded to the winners of the PNC. They are similar to the one awarded to early champions of the British Open. Team Thomas was victorious last year, and each got a belt.
“We had a lot of fun with those belts,” Justin explained. “The first place we first wore them, was over to Tiger’s. So, we enjoyed that.”
Justin likes to say that when Charlie and his dad win the event, then they can talk more trash.
There may be plenty of ammunition for Team Woods to use since Mike Thomas said he only started “cramming” for this tournament recently. He’s not in top tournament condition and has been hampered off and on by a sore back. However, Mike has had an inside look at the competition because he joined Tiger and Charlie for one of their practice rounds recently. What Mike saw was that, with the additional year, Charlie is a little stronger.
“He hits it very far for his size,” Mike noted. “Just like a lot of those kids that age, it was the same for him. You’ve just got to get your maturity level up to your skill level. And when you’re in that age group, some of them don’t do it until they’re 15 or 16. Some of them at 12 years old are way ahead of the maturity schedule on the golf course.”
Mike expects Charlie will continue to improve at all aspects of his game and at course management as he gets a little older. Charlie does have the advantage of having one of the best players ever as his partner. His dad. Hopefully, he doesn’t feel like he has to do too much to make up for his dad’s game, which is still in some stage of recovery.
Tiger’s game, Mike thought, was impressive, especially considering the crash last February.
“It’s crazy how good he’s hitting it and far he’s hitting for what he’s been through,” Mike said.
Woods has said he has no distance.
Justin has not played with Tiger yet and is looking forward to seeing what the legend is able to do.
“I think his expectations are very low. But at the same time, he is who he is for a reason,” Justin said. “I know that he somewhere deep down in there had this circled on the calendar of wanting to come back here.”
Justin said he was excited for Tiger to be able to play, to be able to be someplace outside his house and to spend time with Charlie on the golf course.
Regarding the red championship belts for the PNC winners, they are made by Garrards, The Crown Jewelers in England since 1843. The original Championship Belt was given to the winner of the British Open with the proviso that anyone winning three times would be able to keep it. They should have rethought that part because in 1870, Tom Morris, Jr., having won in 1868, 1869 and 1870, took the belt home permanently. It was such a problem that in 1871, there was no championship. By 1872, a new trophy, the Claret Jug was being created for winners of the historic tournament. Andno one gets to keep it permanently!