'It's Non-Stop' Tiger Woods Continually Teaching Son Charlie About Mind Games

Tiger Woods says he is constantly trying to distract 13-year-old son Charlie on the golf course in order to toughen him up

Tiger Woods watches on with son Charlie Woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods says he is already giving his 13-year-old son Charlie “non-stop” mind games on the golf course in order to make him as tough a competitor as the 15-time Major champion.

Tiger’s huge advantage over the rest of the field during his glory years was his mentality – that single-minded desire to be the best went from physical training to range practice to on-course mental toughness.

Just striding onto the first tee on a Sunday, Tiger had most men already beaten before a headcover had come off or a ball was hit, and it’s that type of toughness he’s trying to impart onto young Charlie.

Tiger’s own late father Earl did the same thing, famously saying he “would do all kinds of things to mess him up” when the two played on the golf course – with the objective being to make him impervious to any future mind games he’d face out on the PGA Tour.

As his career has been winding down, Tiger has become a much more personable and emotional man both on and off the course, but he says he’s teaching Charlie the hard lessons already.

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NBC's Paul Azinger spoke to Woods Snr about the subject when Tiger joined them in the broadcast booth during the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where Woods is hosting but not playing.

"It's non-stop, non-stop," said Woods of his constant attempts to distract Charlie when the two play. "It's trying to get him - if I can get into his head, that means someone else can get into his head.

“It's going to get to a point where I can't get into his head, and then no one else can get in there either. That's what my dad believed. You've got to be willing to take it."

Woods, who will tee it up with Charlie in the PNC Championship later this month, says he came up in an era when mind games between certain golfers was prevalent on the PGA Tour – even though it seems less that way these days.

"Zing [Azinger] can attest to this, he played in an era where certain players, and we’re not going to mention anybody by name, but certain players would do certain things with clubs and shoes and timing and trying to get in your head, the early walk," Woods added.

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"That was still prevalent when I came out here, and a lot of these guys don’t know about any of that stuff, but people did it."

Woods, who said Charlie’s game was “getting a lot better” ahead of the PNC Championship, also revealed the biggest lesson he’s trying to teach his son – which will be a hard one for a young player with Tiger Woods as your dad.

“You got to go earn it,” said Woods. “This is not handed to you. And you got to go earn it every day. This is not something that’s given to you.

“You got to hit those million putts before you become a good putter. You got to hit those shots on the range. You got to be able to go out there and do it. No one’s going to do it for you. You got to go do it for yourself.”

“Number one, without a doubt, you get out what you put into it. And don’t expect any results if you don’t put any work into it.”

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Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.