Bill Murray still draws a golf crowd

By Teddy Greenstein
Published on
Bill Murray still draws a golf crowd

CHICAGO -- Bill Murray was richer for the experience, having taken a dollar off PGA Tour pro Charley Hoffman by making a birdie on the final hole.

And so were we.

Murray didn't have to come to Conway Farms on Wednesday to play in the BMW Championship pro-am. He could have been adding to a filmography that includes, of course, "Caddyshack," "Ghostbusters," "Groundhog Day" and "Lost in Translation."

But there he was in his argyle Cubs shorts, plaid shirt with rolled-up sleeves and white Conway Farms bucket hat. He signed autographs not only between holes but between shots. He also signed IPhone cases and posed for countless selfies.

"I played hooky today, can I have a picture?" a woman (we won't out her) asked as Murray strolled to the eighth tee. He said yes. He also obliged almost all the wannabe comedians who recited the lines he has heard thousands of times: "Who you gonna call?" ... "A little something for the effort?"

Murray began at No. 10, and the starter asked where to announce he was from. His answer was simple: Wilmette.

Born in Evanston and raised him Wilmette, Murray and his five brothers caddied at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka to help pay for Loyola Academy. All six were to be inducted in the Western Golf Association Caddie Hall of Fame in a ceremony Wednesday night.

Asked about the honor, Murray joked: "I'll believe it when I see it. The last time someone told me something like that, I was a caddie and I ended up being the victim of a practical joke. So we'll see what happens."

The Murray clan was out at Conway Farms in force on Wednesday.

A marshal approached and said one of his brothers had hit him with a golf ball.

"You probably deserved it," he shot back.

Was it fun to have your brothers here, Bill?

"Like usual, sometimes it's joyous and sometimes you wish you had put that pillow a little more tightly over their face," he replied.

Will you be with the Cubs in the postseason?

"I may start," he said. "I may relieve. I don't know. I'm working on the knuckler."

Before his first drive, Murray signed autographs for young kids and flung their signed hats over their heads, asking: "Did you all come in on the 'short' bus?"

Murray hit a solid drive on No. 10, a foot off the fairway. He has a remarkably easy, fluid swing but still managed to hit several drives in the 270-yard range.

"It was great playing with him," Hoffman said. "He's an avid golfer."

Is he funnier in movies or real life?

"I would say movies," Hoffman said. "For the most part he's not trying to put on a show out here. He's trying to hit good golf shots."

He actually tried to do both. After making a short putt on No. 8, he stayed on the green for a good 15 seconds soaking in the applause, tipping his cap.

While visiting a concessions area, he said, "I just want to steal something."

He grabbed an orange and said to a tournament official: "Your treat."

When spectators serenaded him with "Happy Birthday!" -- he will turn 65 on Monday -- Murray waited for the conclusion and then blew kisses.

His final drive, on No. 9, traveled 275 yards, leaving 105. Without a glove or a practice swing but after taking several seconds to visualize his shot, Murray lasered an approach to 12 feet. He drained it for birdie.

Murray not only took the dollar off Hoffman, but $40 from playing partners George Solich, an oil-and-gas magnate, and Western Golf Association Chairman Dennis O'Keefe.

After showing off the cash, Murray said: "I'm gonna get myself a new BMW."

This article was written by Teddy Greenstein from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.