John Daly, John II win PNC but are pushed to brink by Tiger, Charlie Woods
ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods might not be ready for tour-level golf. He can still deliver quite a show.
In a remarkable return from a car crash 10 months ago that badly damaged his right leg, Woods and 12-year-old son Charlie set a tournament record with 11 straight birdies and pushed John Daly and his college son all the way to the finish Sunday in the PNC Championship.
Daly and John Daly II, a freshman at Arkansas, won by two shots. It might have been the widest Woods ever smiled after a runner-up finish.
“The fact that I’m able to have this opportunity this year — even a couple weeks ago we didn’t really know whether or not I would be doing this,” Woods said. “But here we are. And we had just best time ever.”
The birdie streak ended on the final hole, allowing Team Daly room for error they didn’t need.
Daly birdied the 16th hole to regain the lead and they stayed in front when Woods and his son both chipped too strong on the par-5 closing hole and missed 8-foot birdie putts. Daly and John Daly II two-putted for birdie on the 18th for a 57 and set the record that mattered.
They finished at 27-under par, breaking by one the tournament mark set by Davis Love III and his son three years ago.
The most popular offseason event that pairs major champions and a family member suddenly felt tense on a warm Florida afternoon, all because of Woods and everything that led to him playing again.
Woods suffered multiple injuries to his right leg on Feb. 23 when his SUV traveling about 85 mph crashed through a median and down a hill in the Los Angeles suburbs.
He said amputation was a possibility. It took three months for him to get on his feet with help of crutches. And he ended the year in a Sunday red shirt, holing birdie putts and delivering short irons that led to one birdie after another and a chase that felt like old times.
This wasn’t just about Woods. His son, playing this event for the second straight year, delivered the goods down the stretch, particularly a 5-iron to 4 feet on the par-3 17th that gave them a tie for the lead going to the 18th.
Team Daly was two groups behind and held it steady.
It was only one month ago when Woods first posted a three-second video showing him hitting a short iron with the message, “Making progress.” He was hitting balls at the back of the range at Albany in the Bahamas two weeks ago. He was able to ride a cart at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando, which helped him get by in the 36-hole event.
And he kept insisting that tour-level golf is still a long way and a lot of work ahead of him.
But there was no shortage of birdies, big shots and loads of hopes for a fairy tale end.
“The competitive juices, they are never going to go away. This is my environment,” Woods said. “This is what I’ve done my entire life. I’m just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity to do it again.”