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'It's exceptional': Why this major champ is in awe of Charlie Woods' golf swing

December 15, 2022

Mike Ehrmann

Forget whose son Charlie Woods is for a moment, and just look at his golf swing. It's an impressive one by any objective measure. And every time we get a new look at it, as we will this week at the PNC Father-Son, it keeps improving.

Speaking ahead of the contest, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington was effusive in his praise of Charlie.

"It's hard to support the angles in a golf swing...and he did it when he was 11," he said. "At 11, he could hold the club in the right position."

What Padraig is explaining here is that junior golfers whose body haven't developed yet often lack the upper body strength to move the golf club with their intended technique. The weight of the club often takes over, and they rely on their hands to time it at the last moment.

Why Paddy loves Charlie's golf swing

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It's very common in junior golfers (Tiger himself says he did it), and it's why so many good junior golfers grow up hitting big draws. But Charlie's move, Harrington says, is different.

"Most kids who are good at 11, 12, 13 years of age, their swing hasn't even come close to developing," Harrington says. "I bet you if you went back and looked at Rory at 12 years of age, he was hitting a big loopy, drop kick [draw] because that's what kids do. But Charlie has always managed to pressure the golf ball, which is exceptional at that age. It really is."

It's high praise from one of the best players of his generation, but of course, playing the game of golf needs more than a good swing. Harrington was quick not to place too much expectation on the young golfer.

"It doesn't really matter how good you are at 11, 12, 13 years of age," he says. "It's how much he loves the game when he's 22 years of's fascinating to watch now, but it will come down to how much he really loves the game for how successful he is."