Woods looks “awesome” to prepare for the PNC Championship

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Miami (AFP) – World number six Justin Thomas is thrilled to see his friend Tiger Woods play alongside his son Charlie in the PNC Championship family tournament this weekend, and Thomas’ dad Mike thinks Woods fans will be in for a treat. .

“It’s crazy how good he hits him and he hits him far for what he’s been through,” Mike Thomas said of 15-time major champion Woods, who suffered leg injuries threatening his life. career in a car accident in California in February.

Woods downplayed expectations for the event at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., Saying he is playing “as a father” as he continues to think about how he could shape a return to the club. tournament golf proper.

But Mike Thomas – a longtime former varsity golfer and professional who teamed up with Justin to win the event last year – said he had recently played with Woods and found “impressive where he’s at. was”.

“He’s got speed, he’s got length. He hits a lot of really, really flush shots,” said senior Thomas after playing in a pro-Am round on Thursday. “I mean, I was surprised.”

Woods recently offered tantalizing glimpses of his progress, posting videos of himself hitting balls on social media and hosting workouts while hosting the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas this month. .

This weekend’s low-key release will be the next step in that progression, said Justin Thomas.

“My arousal level is high just for the fact that he’s here and elsewhere than at home and can see a lot of familiar faces,” said Justin Thomas. “And I know spending time with Charlie is big business for him.

“In terms of competition, I think his expectations are very low. But at the same time, he is who he is for a reason, so I’m sure he will be pissed off that he didn’t play well.”

Woods and Charlie made their debut in the event, which pairs the big winners with a family member, last year and the younger Woods stole the show with an eagle in the first round, scathing speeches and a swing. strangely similar to that of his famous father.

Mike Thomas expects to see the same from the 12-year-old this year.

“He’s pretty solid,” he said. “He hasn’t gotten any taller. He’s a bit stronger. He hits him very far for his size.”

As Woods fans and golf experts alike examine the superstar’s game for signs that he may be ready to resume his quest for greater glory, Justin Thomas said it was more about of fun and family.

“It’s the same for all of us,” he said. “I’m here to hang out with my dad and Tiger is here to hang out with Charlie. We happen to be playing in a televised tournament.”

But women’s world number one Nelly Korda, who will play alongside her father, former Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda, admitted that in addition to the idea of ​​”making memories”, the idea of ​​“playing right in front of Tiger Woods is pretty cool, too.

“I’m not going to lie,” Korda said. “I’m a little selfish here, but it’s pretty cool.”