At the PNC, Team Woods has a comfortable pairing: the Thomases
Charlie Woods caught Justin Thomas off guard. In a post-round interview at the PNC Championship on Saturday, Charlie admitted how much fun he’d been having playing with his dad, their caddies the LaCavas, Thomas’ caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay and, yes, even the Thomases themselves.
“It’s just a big family out there,” Charlie said.
“Charlie said that? Wow,” Justin Thomas said minutes later during his press conference. “I’m glad to hear — yeah, I didn’t even know if he honestly liked us, so I’m glad to hear that he said that.”
At the PNC, the family-friendly hit-and-giggle that’s exploded since Tiger and Charlie Woods joined two years ago, there’s no grouping more comfortable than Team Woods and Team Thomas.
Tiger and Charlie have been paired with Justin and his father, Mike Thomas, in the first round in each of the last three years. Proof that this power pairing — or, better said, Tiger Woods himself — has major pull is the fact that they are playing together again on Sunday.
The Thomases sit at 15 under and lead the 36-hole scramble by two after the first round, and technically they were supposed to be paired with Vijay Singh and his son for the final round. Team Singh is 13 under, the same as Team Woods, but the former finished their round first, meaning they should have secured that last pairing. Not the case.
According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, “as one tournament official explained, with a knowing smile, the pairings were adjusted by a ‘committee’ decision.”
The Woods/Thomas foursome has created good television, and it would shock no one if Woods requested this first-round pairing since he joined the tournament. Despite their age difference, Woods and Thomas have become close friends and live near each other.
Charlie is also 13 and has become an expert needling teenager. Two years ago he trolled Justin Thomas by leaving a note for him in a bunker, and last year he made a “pay me” gesture after making a putt on a practice green.
On Saturday, the Thomases got off to a better start than the Woodses, as Charlie, like his dad, was battling an injury. Mike Thomas called the younger Woods “Snoopy” because of his hat. The banter continued all round.
“It’s all day,” Justin Thomas said. “We are just four friends going out and playing golf, and you know, Charlie definitely hit his fair share of putts pretty hard today, so I made sure, I think both of us, to remind him of that. He hit some really, really good putts and shots, as well, so it was good.”
The Thomases won this tournament in 2020, and days later they wore the championship belts to Tiger’s house over the holidays.
“They rubbed it in our face over Christmas dinner,” Tiger said. “They are in a great position to possibly do it again on Christmas dinner, but we are going to have a little something to say about that.”
As for who is having more fun out there?
“I would say we had about two shots more fun today,” Justin Thomas said.