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Charlie Woods is Not The First Golfer to Follow in Big Footsteps

By: | Fri 23 Feb 2024

Following in the footsteps of a famous parent or sibling is no easy matter. And that is especially true in the world of sport, where it is done under the unremitting glare of media attention.

I cannot help but feel that 15-year-old Charlie Woods is on a hiding to nothing. He is clearly a very gifted young man but he will forever be compared with his illustrious father, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods

It is one thing to grab the limelight at the Father-Son Tournament, a fun event played in December with no real pressure. It is something entirely different when it comes to trying to qualify for PGA Tour events, as Charlie is now attempting to do. 

I wish him well but really fear for him. My own view is that he would be better off concentrating on junior golf, away from the incessant media interest and everything that comes with that. I have to ask what was to be gained by Charlie shooting an 86 as he tried to qualify for the Cognizant Classic?

Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and his sons, Gary and Jackie Jnr, both attempted to make their way in the professional game. 

Gary spent three years on the PGA Tour and did actually manage a win but it was at the Father-Son event. It was hard enough being Jack’s son but Gary also looked like him so it was inevitable that he would constantly be compared with the Golden Bear. He had no chance, and eventually dropped off the tour. Jackie also attempted to emulate his dad but quickly decided that he wasn’t good enough and turned to course design instead. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame came in 1986 when he carried his father’s bag as Nicklaus won The Masters at the age of 46.

Gary Player’s son, Wayne, also tried to make it as professional and spent some time on the old European Tour without hugely mixed results. In 2022 he was banned for life from The Masters after a distasteful incident when he blatantly attempted to promote a golf ball brand during the drive-in ceremony featuring his father, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Elder, the first black golfer to play at The Masters. 

During a speech from chairman Fred Ridley in tribute to Elder, Player, who was standing behind him, held up a packet of golf balls with its brand clearly on show. That is what he will be remembered for, rather than anything he ever achieved on the golf course.

Dave Stockton won the US PGA Championship and captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1991. His son, Dave Jr, won two Nationwide Tour events in 1993 and made it through Q-school onto the PGA Tour. He had three top-10s in 1994, tied for second at the Greater Hartford Open in 1995. But that was as good as it got. After a fruitless year on the Nationwide Tour in 2004, he retired to become a golf instructor.

Nicolai and Rasmus Hojgaard are identical twins, and that brings its own pressures. Rasmus was the first to make the breakthrough but Nicolai soon joined him and his career is on an upward trajectory. He played for Europe in a winning cause at the Ryder Cup, won the DP World Tour Championship in 2023 and gained his PGA Tour card. It is early days, but he already seems to be right at home in the USA. Rasmus has made a bright start to the 2024 season and will have just one target in his head - to join Nicolai in America.

Matthew Fitzpatrick is a multiple DP World Tour winner. He is also a former US Open champion and RBC Heritage winner and comfortably sits inside the top 10 in the world rankings. He is a global superstar. He has a younger brother, Alex, who is making his way on the DP World Tour and the good news is that Fitzpatrick Jnr looks like he just might have what it takes to also be winner.

There have been some notable exceptions. Perhaps the most notable is Bill Haas, whose father Jay had an incredibly successful career on the PGA Tour. Jay won nine times on the PGA Tour and teed it up a remarkable 799 times. He was still in the top 20 in the world rankings after turning 50 so was a hard act to follow. And, for a time at least, it seemed that Bill may actually surpass his Dad. He won six times on the PGA Tour and won the FedEx Cup in 2011. But his last win came in 2015 and he has struggled ever since.

Julius Boros won the US Open in 1952 and 1963 and claimed the US PGA Championship in 1968 at the age of 48. He won 18 times on the PGA Tour. His son, Guy, won the 1996 Greater Vancouver Open. He also had three Nationwide Tour wins and played on the Asian, Australian and Canadian Tours.

Bob Tway won eight times, most famously at the 1986 US PGA when he broke Greg Norman’s heart by holing a bunker shot at the final hole to beat the Australian, His son, Kevin, a U.S. Junior Amateur champion, made it to the Web.com Tour in 2013, won the next year and advanced to the PGA Tour. In 2018, he beat Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker in a playoff to win the Safeway Championship, making the Tways the 10th father-son duo to win on the PGA Tour.

Al Geiberger is most famous for being the first man to record a 59 on the PGA Tour. He also claimed the 1966 PGA Championship, one of 11 tour victories. His son, Brent, had a 15-year run on the tour, winning in Hartford in 1999 and Greensboro in 2004. They became the first father-son duo to tee it up in the PGA Championship in 1998. 

Craig Stadler’s crowning glory came when he won the 1982 Masters, beating Dan Pohl in a playoff. The Walrus, as he was famously known, won 13 PGA Tour wins. In 2014, his son, Kevin, became the first son of a champion to play in The Masters, finishing eighth. He won on the European Tour (2006 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia), Asian Tour, Australasian Tour and Challenge Tour and claimed four victories on the Nationwide Tour. He broke through for his only PGA Tour win at the 2014 Phoenix Open after Bubba Watson bogeyed the final hole. 

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Tags: tiger woods PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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