By Jack Bantock, CNN
(CNN) — A Woods was back in the winner’s circle this weekend – but not the one golf fans grew accustomed to seeing.
This time, Tiger Woods played caddie to his son Charlie as the 14-year-old shot the best round of his fledgling career to win his age group’s regional qualifier for the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championships.
After opening with a one-under 71, the youngster rattled off nine birdies to post a career-low 66 at Mission Inn Resort in Orlando, Florida and stamp his ticket to the championship finale at Koasati Pines in Coushatta, Louisiana in November.
With rivals closing in down the final stretch, Woods displayed the type of calmness under pressure that saw his father amass 15 major championships, finishing with back-to-back birdies to triumph by a single stroke.
“It’s hard to think, ‘You’re tied for the lead, you have to go shoot a low round to win this thing,’” the 14-year-old Woods told tournament organizers.
“So just take it one shot at a time, don’t think too far ahead. Just gotta keep eating.”
And naturally, being able to call on the advice of a caddie with 82 PGA Tour triumphs was a useful resource, the pair pictured together in an Instagram post from Shane Croft, the father of Woods’ tournament playing partner Chase.
“It’s great, we just stay in our own little world and take it one shot at a time,” Woods said of his partnership with his dad.
“He puts me in my place. I’ll talk about the next tee shot and he’s like, ‘No. This is the shot we’re gonna focus on. Focus up, this is what we’re gonna do.’”
It’s not the first time the duo have teamed up on the course. The 47-year-old Woods was also on bag duty at last year’s regional qualifier, held at the same venue, where a then-career-best 68 round saw his son finish tied-fourth.
A few months later in December, the pair donned matching outfits at the PNC Championship in Orlando to tie for eighth in a star-studded 20-player field made up exclusively of players to have won a major or The Players, plus their relatives.
No Tiger at the Ryder Cup
Yet the 15-time major winner’s course appearances have been few and far between since, as the long-term effects of his February 2021 car accident injuries continue to hamper his playing time.
Woods competed at The Masters only to withdraw early, then proceeded to miss the subsequent three majors in 2023, undergoing “successful” ankle surgery in April.
It left him with a scant chance of making a ninth Ryder Cup appearance at the 44th edition of the tournament in Rome on Friday. American captain Zach Johnson did not rule out selecting Woods when asked about his potential inclusion in January, but – given his limited competitive appearances – a call-up never looked on the cards.
And while he remains on the “inner corner,” offering support via text, Johnson said Woods would not be traveling to the Marco Simone Golf Club to support the team in person as they chase a first away win in 30 years.
“He’s got a lot on his plate,” Johnson told reporters Monday.
“He’s the best player of our generation. Thankfully he’s an American. We are going to utilize his knowledge and his wisdom and his candor and his passion the best we can.
“When it comes to the week of the tournament, if you’re not in on it and inside the team room, inside the ropes, shoulder-to-shoulder with these guys, it’s not fair to ask him questions.
“He can give us insights, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time, I don’t know if that’s proper and I think he would understand completely.”
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