Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The VERY last golf outing on TV stateside features an annual tradition that’s sure to elicit lots of smiles and good vibes – the PNC Championship. It features 20 of golf’s major champions and their family members competing in two-person teams in the name of charity and good fun. There’s been a variety of champions of this event held in Orlando, most notably John Daly and his son JD Jr. taking the 2021 crown. Tiger Woods makes his return to this event with his son Charlie, who is a year older, taller and wiser on the golf course. It’s not only an opportunity to see how Tiger’s actual golf game looks with cameras on, but we also get to ogle and daydream as to what the future dominance of Charlie Woods could look like in the world of golf.
For the third week in a row, it’s a smaller field of contenders, and truth be told I can pinpoint the winner coming from one of three, or MAYBE for teams. It’s no offense to the lovely family pairings you’ll see on camera all week, but there are only a few that have the combination needed to go low and win the event. We’re coming off an outright winner at the Hero and a third at the QBE – let’s get one more W in the clubhouse to round out 2022.
PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ
The Grand Lakes Orlando Course at the Ritz-Carlton is a beautiful Florida layout equipped with all the gator-infested waters and lush green fairways and greens you would expect. It’s a modest 7000-yard-ish layout for the pros, and the non-pro players in the field play it from a much shorter distance. Get ready to hear “Charlie Woods, putting for eagle” this week. It’s a forgiving course that allows for aggressive team lay and lots of “go for it” opportunities.
Obviously, Team Daly (John and John Jr.) is the duo to beat and back for another year. Team Woods will be knocking down the door, but 2020 Champions Justin and PGA Teaching Pro Mike Thomas are also worthy adversaries who we’ll have our eyes on all weekend. The leaderboard figures to have one of these duos on top come Sunday evening, and I’d be surprised if the final pairings don’t consist of those teams.
FORECASTING THE PNC
I won’t sugar coat some rocket science-level secret to handicapping the field here – it’s very clearly going to come down to three teams for the title, maybe a fourth wild card pick is in order if there’s chaos. Essentially you’re flipping coins to see who makes more putts throughout the week and riding with Tiger, JD, or JT.
I’m prefacing my weekly picks based on exactly what I value the most. With every play I make, I’m always taking into account these factors and for the PNC Championship, I’m locked in on a few teams that should separate from the competition on skill level alone.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
At the QBE Shootout, the English/Kuchar duo finished third but my others were admittedly lacking, as some fresh faces crashed the party on my plays. Nothing to write home about so I have graded myself a C+ for my plays last week.
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Tiger and Charlie Woods – I’m doing it, I’m calling the Woods family victory this week. Tiger’s in a cart and seems to be swinging it great, and Charlie is a year older and better and knows the track. If only this win could count as #83 for Tiger.
2: John Daly and John Jr. – The defending champs figure to be ready to reclaim the title, and they’ll be the main team to fend off this week. JD Jr. is a college athlete that could be months away from turning professional.
3: Justin and Mike Thomas – JT hasn’t been playing too great so I’m not feeling a Thomas family win, but Mike is a scratch golfer that will keep this duo on page 1.
4: Stewart and Reagan Cink – My flier pick is the Cinks, and these two have already worked together on recent PGA Tour wins with Reagan on the bag. They’re the ultimate team in life and we’ll see how much of a game Reagan has!
RYP One and Done Pick: N/A
Where to watch: Golf Channel and NBC all weekend – looking forward to extremely detailed breakdowns of Charlie’s swing, walk, smile, diet, and demeanor – not weird at all.
Why to watch: First Tiger action on camera in a while, playing with his son, and John Daly looking like Santa Claus? Sign me up for some family holiday golf shenanigans.
What to eat: I bet there are grade-A chicken tenders and fries in player dining at this event, so I’m matching that menu this weekend – for the kids of course.
Purse: $1.085 million
Winner’s Share: $200,000