Professional golfer Eldrick "Tiger" Woods has been one of the most polarizing figures in sports history. The golfer dominated on the green and became one of the most recognizable faces in sports, landing lucrative brand endorsements from Nike, Bridgestone, Rolex and many others. Once a child prodigy, Woods far exceeded already high expectations since he became a professional golfer in 1996 and, as Biography notes, "he became the youngest man and the first African American to win the U.S. Masters" just a year later.
The golfer, who trails only Jack Nicklaus on the all-time list for the most major championship victories, told TIME in 2015 that winning tournaments was no longer his top priority. "My kids are more important to me than anything else in the world," he noted. Tiger has two children with his ex-wife Elin Nordegren: Sam Alexis Woods and Charlie Woods. While the kids may have grown up in the shadow of their father, Charlie has been making a name for himself since 2020. Beyond the appearances of Charlie in the gallery supporting his father at golf events, he has done some remarkable things to add another chapter to the Woods family legacy. Read on to discover the untold truth about Charlie.
Charlie Woods was named after his uncle
Tiger Woods and his then-wife Elin Nordegren welcomed their second child Charlie Axel Woods on Feb. 8, 2009. On Tiger’s website (via People), he said in a statement, "We had a couple names and Charlie just fit." The golf great added that "Axel" comes from "Elin’s brother’s name." As Tiger put it, "We wanted to make sure it stayed in the family."
A theory emerged that the name Charlie carried significance beyond it "just fit," given the link between the child’s first name and the late Charlie Sifford, the first Black golfer to become a PGA TOUR member when he broke the "Caucasian-only clause." There was a personal connection, too: Sifford was a close friend of Tiger’s late father, Earl Woods, and, according to the Associated Press (via PGA Tour), Sifford referred to Tiger as his "grandson." Likewise, Tiger felt a similar sentiment, telling the Los Angeles Times, "He’s like the Grandpa I never had." Tiger also noted that if not for Sifford, he "probably" wouldn’t be a professional golfer and his "dad would have never have picked up the game."
So it’s possible that Charlie’s name stems from a personal connection from his father as well as his mother.
Charlie Woods can speak his mother’s native tongue
Charlie Woods happens to be bilingual. Elin Nordegren, Charlie’s mother, told People in 2010 that even though she was raising her kids in Florida, they would tap into their mother’s Swedish heritage.
The Swedish model told the outlet, "My children and I are both Swedish and American citizens, we speak both languages." She also spoke of her plans at the time to take her children to Sweden often to visit their maternal relatives and "experience the culture." In addition to teaching Charlie and his sister, Sam Woods, the Swedish tongue, Nordegren also celebrates Swedish customs with them. As early as age one-and-a-half, Charlie, along with his sister and mother, was spotted "dancing around [a] Christmas tree" to celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day, which is an annual Swedish celebration of Winter Solstice, according to People.
Well, you can take the boy out of Sweden but you can’t take the Sweden out of Charlie.
Soccer was Charlie Woods’ first pick
In a video that’s made the internet rounds, Charlie Woods was spotted swinging a golf club at the age of four. However, he and his older sister, Sam Woods, were hooked on a totally different sport as youngsters. In 2018, Tiger Woods told GOLF his kids were "keen into soccer."
When the outlet asked whether or not the five-time Masters Tournament winner would urge his children to spend more time hitting the links, Tiger replied, "If they want to play golf, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s fine, too." Charlie’s father mentioned that he enjoyed getting a chance to "pass the ball around with them" and "watching them compete and play" in games, adding, "It’s so much fun to see how happy and passionate they are about soccer." In 2020, Tiger told Golf Digest the pandemic shifted his son’s interests. "He started getting the bug for [golf]," Tiger said, and added, "Like all kids, they go from one thing to the next … But who knows, it could switch to something else."
With Charlie drawing an interest in golf on his own accord, does that mean he was fated to play this sport?
Charlie Woods hit his first eagle early on
When Charlie Woods joined forces with his father Tiger Woods at the 2020 PNC Championship, something special happened on the green: Charlie hit a career milestone under the national spotlight.
In a clip of the tournament, one of the commentators notes that Charlie used "a 5-wood that he rips for about 175 yards." In the same snippet, you can hear Tiger shout, "Awesome shot." When Charlie made contact, his ball traveled with an arc to stay on the fairway and put him in putting position. After sinking the putt, his father patted him on the back as the two were all smiles when Charlie hit his first-ever eagle. Tiger told PGA Tour he was the same age as Charlie when he hit his first eagle. "I remember doing it with my dad … and it was the most perfect moment," he recalled.
Like father, like son, Charlie wowed the world with his golf swing when he was surrounded by cameras. Funnily enough, this was similar to how his father once impressed the public with his swing as a child on The Mike Douglas Show. Could this be a sign that Charlie is on pace to have a professional golf career on par with his father?
Charlie Woods once got ‘a bad stomach bug’ that made headlines
Before Charlie Woods went viral as an 11-year-old golf sensation, he unintentionally sparked headlines for another reason in 2009. That year, CNN reported Charlie’s maternal grandmother, Barbro Holmberg, was released from the hospital after "she was admitted" for "stomach pain."
ABC News reported that in the 911 recording for the incident, an unidentified caller said Holmberg "collapsed" before paramedics rushed to Tiger Woods’ home. A year after Elin Nordegren’s mother’s scare, Nordegren told People: "Charlie had a bad stomach bug and we all ended up getting it." She explained that her mother "collapsed" when she caught the bug because she had "very low blood pressure." The Swedish model explained she "called 911" when her mother "was unconscious for a while. As ABC News noted, Holmberg’s "condition was stable and not life threatening" and she was "released about 11 hours" after she was admitted.
"She was fine soon after," Nordegren said in the aforementioned People interview, "but it got a tremendous amount of coverage because of the other things that were going on."
Charlie Woods is definitely a mini Tiger Woods
The father and son duo did not just dress alike the 2020 PNC Championship: Charlie Woods also happened to play like Tiger Woods. The PGA Tour‘s Twitter account highlighted the moments with a side-by-side video comparison that went viral.
Charlie’s mannerisms throughout the event were nearly identical to his father’s; the golf swing, follow through and mannerisms on the green—whether it was their stance on the green to adjusting their gloves—all lined up. The similarities almost seemed like Charlie was a clone of an adolescent Tiger. This extended beyond the pair’s golf fundamentals as Charlie’s celebratory moments drew a striking resemblance to his dad, be it Tiger’s iconic first pumps or when he tips his hat with a smile. There’s no denying that Charlie is definitely Tiger’s "Mini-Me."
The moments showed the world a small glimpse of how close Charlie and Tiger are and how their parent-child relationship mirrors the iconic relationship Tiger had with his father, the late Earl Woods. Tiger once said on his website (via The New York Times), "My dad was my best friend and greatest role model."
Like his father, Charlie Woods can talk some trash
Tiger Woods admitted his son, Charlie Woods, has definitely inherited the trash-talking trait, telling Golf Digest, "He’s a little on the chirpy side, just like I am." Tiger further divulged that his mouth backfired when Charlie began borrowing some of Tiger’s "lines" on the green.
Professional golfer Justin Thomas also attested to Charlie’s trash talking during a 2020 press conference when he recalled a putting contest between the two a few years prior. Thomas remembers Charlie saying, "Here I am, I’m nine years old beating the number one player in the world and, supposedly, the best golfer of all time." The 2017 PGA Championship winner revealed he came back and beat Charlie in that friendly putting competition. When it was announced that Charlie would be joining the 2020 PNC Championship, Thomas playfully said (via Fantasy Golf Pod) he wanted to "shut his little mouth up." Albeit, Charlie would get the last laugh when a stroke from Thomas landed in a bunker and Charlie left a note next to Thomas’s ball that read "draw hole."
The prank, which golf analyst Justin Leonard called "next level," was one of many viral moments from Charlie at the 2020 tournament formerly known as the Father/Son Challenge.
Only the best of the best clubs for Charlie Woods
It appears that Charlie Woods has expensive taste when it comes to his personal set of golf clubs. It must be something that runs in the family: As his father, Tiger Woods, made clear in a video for Golf Digest he is picky with his golf clubs, too.
According to GOLF, Charlie has his own set of state-of-art golf clubs from TaylorMade. The outlet explained that the kid happened to be carrying a similar set of clubs as Tiger when it was time "to tee it up alongside his dad at the PNC Championship." In fact, GOLF mentioned that Charlie is "already using a set of better-player irons currently employed by major champion Collin Morikawa and Tour winner Matthew Wolff." This, paired with the fact he’s only a junior golfer — who hasn’t fully developed his body strength and growth — shows that Charlie isn’t playing around on the green when it comes to his clubs. His bag shows that he wants to compete on the highest level he could imagine.
Charlie Woods has dominated junior golf in South Florida
In the summer of 2020, GNN reported that Charlie Woods "won a US Kids Golf event by 5 shots." The website noted that the prodigy was "3-under [par] 33 on the 2,467-yard course" and scored "three birdies and no bogeys." And as outlets like ESPN and TODAY noted, Charlie was supported every step of the way by his father Tiger Woods, who tagged along as his caddie. A few weeks later, Golf Digest reported that the rising star "won his 9-11 age division by three shots at a PGA South Florida Section tournament."
As Charlie was starting to make headlines, during the first year he was serious about golf, his dominance was somewhat reminiscent of Tiger’s when he was Charlie’s age. In 2015, Tiger told TIME that he "peaked at 11." He explained by that age he "had already won 113 tournaments" and "went 36 and 0 that year." Plus, he says he "probably had the cutest girlfriend in all of sixth grade," and in academics he achieved "straight As" on his report card. "I’ve been trying to get back to that since," he said.
Is Charlie’s early dominance the beginning of what may turn into an illustrious professional golfing career?
Family is everything to Charlie Woods’ parents
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren finalized their divorce in 2010. Four years later, Nordegren told People their relationship was "centered around [their] children" and added, "I am so happy that is the case." In 2015, Tiger shared a similar sentiment, telling TIME they worked "so hard at co-parenting" and his relationship with Nordegren is "fantastic." Tiger even called her one of his "best friends."
The family dynamic was brought to the forefront during the 2020 PNC Championship when Charlie Woods teamed up with Tiger. As the New York Post noted, "Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Herman, watched, along with Charlie’s mother and Woods’ ex, Elin Nordegren." Charlie’s sister, Sam Woods, was also there to cheer on her sibling. On The Golf Channel’s broadcast of the tournament (via GOLF), Notah Begay III praised Tiger and Nordegren’s efforts as co-parents. "I talked about Tiger being at all those soccer games and youth activities — well, Elin’s right there and right next to them," he said. "They’ve really done a wonderful job for their kids."
Through Charlie and Sam, Tiger and Nordegren have remained on good terms to the point where they can stand by each other when supporting their kids at functions.
Experts are impressed with Charlie Woods’ golf swing
Charlie Woods’ golf stroke mechanics left an impression on golf analysts when he made his national debut at the 2020 PNC Championship. Jonathan Yarwood was one of the golf experts who raved about Charlie’s swing, telling GOLF, "Being Tiger Woods’ son, he uses phenomenal athleticism to redirect the club using a huge amount of right side bend."
PGA Pro’s Darren deMaille also praised Charlie’s golf-swinging motion on Quick Fix Golf by highlighting his ability to "rotate" his body on his swing. He noted, "Most of our golfers that we see at the academy can’t do that." Tiger Woods himself even told Golf Digest, "I idolize his swing all the time." The golfer tied for the most PGA Tour wins of all time added, "I wish I could rotate like that, and turn my head like that and do some of those positions, but those days are long gone and I got to relive it through him."
Yes, Charlie’s swing has already become iconic.
Charlie Woods has brought his father’s career ‘full circle’
Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters Tournament, which was a moment of redemption for the star who hadn’t won a major since 2008. Tennis legend Serena Williams tweeted that she was "inspired" seeing Tiger’s performance. "Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today?" she wrote. "Wow Congrats a million times!"
After Tiger’s final stroke to clinch the victory, his son, Charlie Woods, gave him a big hug. For Tiger, that moment reminded him when he hugged his father, Earl Woods, after he won his first Masters Tournament in 1997. "To come full circle as a father, and to have my son jump into my arms, it really means so much to me," Tiger said in a video for The Masters. The golf superstar told CBS Sports that before he won in 2019, folks "joked" with Sam and Charlie Woods that their dad had become a "YouTube golfer" because they "never really witnessed me win a golf tournament in person." Of course, that all changed when Tiger beat Francesco Molinari in Augusta. Tiger recalled to Golf Digest, "Just watching them fight over the green jacket on the airplane was pretty funny."
Taking Charlie out to play competitive golf has been full of more "full circle" moments. Tiger told Golf Digest, "It’s been just an absolute blast to go out there and just, you know, be with him and it reminds me so much of, you know, me and my dad growing up."