Golf media finally found its first viral video of 2020 this weekend and, boy, did they go overboard.
Charlie Woods, son of Tiger Woods, was filmed swinging a golf club at a junior event where his father was his caddy. After the video made its way around social media, click-hungry golf writers pounced on the opportunity to write about a 10-year-old connected to the most click-generating golfer of all time. Some of the headlines included:
"Tiger Woods’ son Charlie’s golf swing is just as perfect as you’d imagine" - Golf.com.
"Tiger Woods' 10-year-old son Charlie has an astonishingly beautiful golf swing" - For The Win.
"Tiger Woods' son Charlie shows he's got a pretty good golf swing already" - ESPN.
Golf.com said Charlie has a "near-perfect golf swing". For The Win wrote "The pure swing runs in the family". ESPN told readers to "Take note of this action". I'll retort by saying, just let this kid live.
Woods' son was always going to have a hard time remaining anonymous. The fact that he's playing golf, the sport where his father has won 15 majors, makes it even harder. But when the golf media decides to place undue and unjust expectations on a kid who's still in grade school, and publicizes that onto sites with millions of readers, it just makes things harder on him.
I'm not asking anyone to feel bad for Charlie Woods. He's probably got a pretty nice life. But unlike LeBron James Jr., who regularly posts videos on social media of himself playing basketball, Charlie Woods has not sought this publicity. The video of him swinging looks like it taken from behind some bushes in a secretive way. That isn't really cool, nor is expanding the video's reach by writing about it.
Golf is struggling to garner attention outside of Tiger Woods. Their young stars, of which there are many, simply don't resonate outside of the golf community, which is what made Woods so special to golf media. They finally had a vehicle to connect with regular people and not just golf fans. It makes sense for golf writers to jump on an opportunity like this for those reasons alone. However, that's not fair to the subject of the video.
When it comes to future coverage of Charlie Woods, hopefully golf publications avoid it unless Charlie seeks it out. Otherwise they'll just put more pressure on a young man born into the pressure cooker based on his last name.