Many Father-Son Golf Duos, but Charlie Woods Looking Scary
Of course, there is no guarantee that the son or daughter of a famous golfer is going to fill the shoes of the senior star, but many successful parent – child duos have come along, and it’s not just dumb family luck. Sometimes, it seems as if there’s no way a child is going to fill the big shoes, but they try anyway. If they just enjoy it, or think it’s lucrative, that’s one thing, but to assume that they will assault their famous father’s records can be just plain nuts. And yet, in other cases, the child turns out to be the real star – you never know. But to pick up a golf club as Charlie Woods as the son of Tiger Woods? Gutsy stuff, like finding the key to Dumbledore’s want drawer.
I am old enough to have seen the childhood appearance of Tiger Woods on the Tonight Show decades ago. I remember how far that swing was ahead of its time. That little kid had no business hitting a golf ball like that. However, I’ve got to tell you that I’m thinking the same thing after watching a recent video of Charlie Woods on the driving range, in preparation for a junior event. That kid’s swing is drop dead gorgeous, the stuff that golf devotees have sought like the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth. Yes, he has access to the greatest instruction in the world, but that isn’t a guarantee he’ll have the right stuff. Vince Lombardi could have come to live at my house, and I still would never have played for the Packers. The fact that Charlie tied for second in his tournament means nothing in predicting the future, except to note that he’s already accustomed to the leader board. There is often a genetic connection to family greatness in terms of body, mind and inherent talent. I don’t know why, but there is.
David Duval’s son Dru will soon make his debut a the RSM Classic, and will play with his father, who hosts the event, for two rounds. If we are of a historical bent, there’s always Jack Burke. Burke Sr. came in second at the 1920 U.S. Open, but his son won the Masters and the PGA. Go even further back to the Morris family in Britain, where Senior and Junior are replaced by Old and Young. Old Morris is connected to the present day prestige of St. Andrews, and won four Open belts. His son won four more, and doing it by the age of 17. Willie Park, Sr. matched that feat . Willie Park, Jr. won two of them while developing as a noted architect, designing a U.S. open venue along the way. One or two generations before Tiger Woods, we used to watch Julius Boros, the most relaxed guy in the game. He never took a practice swing for fear of wasting the best one of the day, and had a superb short game. He won three majors and helped start the Seniors tour . His son Guy didn’t match his prowess, but won the 1996 Greater Vancouver, and I hope had a great time doing it.
Bing Crosby was a crooner, but got to play in the British and U.S. Amateurs. Later, he hosted his own tournament. His son Nathaniel didn’t opt for the professional mania, but won the 1981 U.S. Amateur, and played on the Walker Cup Team. Brent Geiberger won twice on tour, while his father Al became the first pro to shoot 59 in a PGA sanctioned event. Jack Ncklaus’ son Gary was on the tour for three years. He didn’t win 18 majors, but he got enough golf DNA to get on the tour, surpassing most of us who would like to play that well. It goes on and on, in the Craig Stadler, David Duval and Jay Haas families, while I sit here and lament over my inheritance. If I didn’t have a scratch brother to save me from my father’s unpredictable swing, I would still be out in the rough somewhere trying to find my way home.
But this Woods thing. Could lightning strike twice in the same family? I don’t know, but whatever you call it – ‘Old,’ ‘Young, ‘Senior,’ ‘Junior’ or as Homer classified it, ‘The Greater’ or ‘The Lesser,’ that Charlie has a swing with Tiger Woods all over it. Watch out, world!