NEWPORT, Wales -- One hand in his pocket and the other clutching tightly to his team-issued umbrella, Tiger Woods stepped carefully over the gallery rope behind the fourth green Friday morning.
There was the No. 1 player in the world having to walk back to the team room in the clubhouse at Celtic Manor Resort after the morning four-ball matches of the 38th Ryder Cup were suspended at 9:45 a.m. because of unplayable conditions due to heavy rains.
"How about this stuff? It's beautiful. How's Monday looking for you?" Woods said with volume set to full sarcasm as he, caddie Steve Williams and Jeff Sluman, one of four U.S. assistant captains, trudged, heads down, umbrellas forward, into the teeth of a wicked Welsh wind.
As he began retracing his steps back up the first fairway, fans who noticed the man peering out from the oversized umbrella, stopped and gawked. A few actually yelled, "Go Tiger." It may be a partisan crowd, but they still appreciate the game's top player. Tiger removed his hand out of his pocket to tip his cap.
But onward he trudged, remarking that this was not the worst weather in which he's competed. "Oh, it was much worse in 2002," he averred. Woods was referring to the '02 British Open at Muirfield, Scotland, where, after having won the Masters and U.S. Open, his Grand Slam plans were scuttled by a third-round 81 in high winds.
Perhaps it was a good sign for the U.S. team that Woods seemed in good spirits, having won the second hole with a birdie to bring him and Steve Stricker even with Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher. Poulter birdied the par-3 third to restore Europe's 1-up lead before the suspension.
"We're fine. It is what it is," he said before a cart finally arrived to pick him up.
Asked what his plans were should the suspension be a long one, Woods couldn't help continuing to go for one-liners. "I might work on my tan," he said.
(Photo by Getty Images)