Tiger Escapes to Memorial Third Round
After the round was complete, Woods went about his obligatory media session, standing on a small riser outside the tournament scoring area at Muirfield Village Golf Club. He answered all the standard questions about birdies and bogeys. He expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to play the weekend -- Friday's round was only his 11th of the season -- as he labors to get back to racing speed before heading to Pebble Beach in two weeks for the U.S. Open. He praised the play of rookie Rickie Fowler who's 13 under after rounds of 65 and 66.
Finally, with the allowed time running short -- "one more question," a PGA Tour official announced and he prepared to escort the golfer away -- a diversion from the norm was tossed out more for curiosity than expectation.
Woods, who over the years has mentioned his affinity for the movie "Caddyshack," was told golf's favorite cult flick is turning 30 years old.
Like someone had flipped a switch, Woods' entire demeanor chanced. A sincere smile dominated his face. Body language changed, his features softening and stiff shoulders relaxed.
"Is it really?" Woods asked, seeming, for the first time during the seven-minute media exchange, to enjoy the interaction.
The 34-year old golf star was asked if he remembered the first time he saw the movie and for a guess of how many times he has viewed it since.
"I don't remember the first time, but I certainly didn't watch it when I was 4," Woods said, following with a soft chuckle. "As far as how many times, I'd have to say pretty close to a hundred by now."
And yes, he has favorite lines.
"A bunch of lines I love," he offered. "For some reason you kind of remember different things the more times you go through it ... I don't know. It's the little things. That's what makes the movie so great."
And for a moment Woods, the world's No. 1 golfer with a firestorm for a personal life, was just another goofball with a Carl Spackler imitation.
Alas, then he was gone, the moment of escapism over as he was escorted back to the Woods world which is nothing like Bushwood.
"Yeah, it was decent today," Woods said earlier of his round. "I hit more good shots today than I did (Thursday) and really putted well. I had five lip outs, so it could have been a pretty good number."
Beginning the day even-par, Woods was 3-under after five holes, before giving back two strokes on his ninth and 12th holes.
But then, he birdied three straight, dropping putts of six, five and 16 feet. He bogeyed his 18th after flying the green from 154 yards away.
It's all part of the comeback.
"As I said, usually, most guys are at this point in January," Woods said. "Here we are in June, and I'm at the point which most guys are beginning the year. So it's just one of those things where the more times, the more good shots I hit, keep building. It's a process.
"And I hit more good shots today than I did yesterday."
Now there's only one more thing: "Be the ball, Danny, be the ball."