AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods is different in today’s practice round with Fred Couples at Augusta National.
He’s lost his blinders.
Woods appears to be making a concerted effort to connect with patrons in the gallery.
Typically, Woods is bombarded with fans shouting his name and asking for autographs in practice rounds but almost never allows himself to be engaged by them in small talk or repartee. That’s different today. Woods has uttered a number of “thank you's” to patrons who have shouted encouragement.
At the seventh hole, Woods hit an awful practice putt that turned into an amusing moment for the gallery.
“Nice putt,” a patron shouted.
Smiling, Woods looked back at the man.
“If that’s a nice putt, I’d hate to see a bad one,” he told the man.
The crowd cackled with laughter.
At the eighth tee, a man leaned over the ropes and asked Woods if he would autograph his hat. When he didn't get a response, the man asked again.
'No autographs are allowed inside,' Woods cheerfully answered back.
At the ninth hole with Woods stepping over a practice chip, a woman of retirement age got Woods’ attention.
“We love you!” Linda Davidson of Odessa, Fla., chimed.
Woods looked up before hitting the shot and locked eyes with the woman.
“Thank you,” he said and offered her a smile before chipping.