Golf

It's in the hole! Bill Murray wins over the crowd at Colonial once again

Bill Murray in Fort Worth for Colonial golf tournament

Bill Murray once again played in the pro-am event at Colonial Country Club for the PGA's Fort Worth Invitational.
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Bill Murray once again played in the pro-am event at Colonial Country Club for the PGA's Fort Worth Invitational.

Bill Murray remains arguably the most entertaining amateur golfer on the planet.

The title of this year's PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club is called the Fort Worth Invitational (Dean & Deluca may have dropped their title sponsorship). Next year, national investing and banking firm Charles Schwab will be the title sponsor.

The name of the event doesn't really matter all that much when it comes to the Wednesday proceedings. Murray is easily the biggest draw of the pre-tournament spectacle.

Reading about Murray's real-life high jinks or watching them on screen is one thing. Seeing them in person is quite another.

His iconic turn as assistant groundskeeper Carl Spackler in the classic 1980s comedy "Caddyshack" provided him a natural association with the sport.

On Wednesday, there were more than a few fans of almost all ages who shouted variations of the endlessly quotable lines at Murray as he strolled past.

But Murray's persona really makes the sport so much fun to watch for professional golf fans who will need to mind their manners (how and when they speak) at four-day PGA events.

On the 16th hole, Murray posed in his dark shorts, bright orange shirt and bucket hat to marvel at a great out from the left bunker that landed 7 feet from the cup.

The crowd howled as his caddy put his wedge back in Murray's seemingly-50-year-old bag. His clubs are protected by a wild assortment of head-covers. His putter is guarded by a pink cover modeled after a Converse-type shoe for infants.

After missing the putt, he tried it again ... and missed a second time.

Finally, after the rest of his group had finished playing, he sank it on his third attempt. Virtually everyone cheered.

On the walk up to the next tee box, Murray signed hats and programs from a gallery of more than 100 people. As he walked to find his errant tee shot to the right of the tree line on hole No. 17, he asked a fan for her drink, which he proceeded to finish.

All the girl could do was smile at Murray's natural affability.

To get to the 17th green, Murray needed to roll a low 5-iron shot under some branches, over a small and through some rough from 170 yards out to even have a chance at saving par. He asked the crowd to look away, before executing the shot perfectly, although the par eluded him.

More cheers, more laughs, more autographs. Nobody could look away.

Murray put his second shot in the trap to the right of the green on the rigorous final hole. While posing with a woman on the way to his ball, Murray decided they needed to switch hats for a picture.

Hers had a nice bow tied around it. His did not. It wouldn't have been hard to imagine the comedian and actor making the switch permanent.

Murray's sand game stayed strong as he punched out another shot that landed 8 to 9 feet from the hole. By this point, there was a buzz in the stands overlooking the 18th green. Everyone knew Murray was there, and they were all waiting to see what he'd do next.

The crowd went quiet for probably the only time all day as he drained the putt, dropped his putter on the ground and casually posed one last time. His largest audience of the day went nuts as Murray chucked his ball into the upper deck of the clubhouse.

You'd think his playing partners might have gotten sick of all this, but once the round was over, they were all laughing and smiling, just like everybody else.

Before walking off the green, he did a quick TV interview where he provided a Murray-esque explanation of why fans show up to see him.

"It's almost like if you see a squirrel that's got a white spot on its nose," Murray said. "It's kind of like 'hey, look at that.'

"Where I come from, people get excited about that. People come out for all kinds of reasons. And we're going to get to the bottom of it. There's an investigation. There's a committee forming to find out what some of these people are doing here, because it's awfully hot in the sun."

With temperatures in the upper 90s, everyone could have used a dip in a pool or a pond.

Murray then signed a few more autographs and engaged in some small talk with surrounding patrons. Finally, the 67-year-old found his way into the clubhouse and out of the heat, like the gopher from "Caddyshack" sneaking back into his hole.

Now, just imagine what he did on the 15 other holes.

Golfer Aaron Wise talks about getting rejected on the 18th green at the Byron Nelson Invitational.

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