So did Woods. "It didn't feel any different to be next to the lead and knowing what I needed to do", he said.
Followed around the Scottish links by huge crowds and a circus of journalists and photographers, the 14-time major victor was at one point in a share of the lead after claiming a sixth birdie of the day at the 14th hole.
With time to kill before Saturday's 3:10 p.m. tee time, Spieth decided it was the flawless time to get an overdue trim in Carnoustie.
With the leaders still on the course, Woods' deficit will stretch, but he will be in contention come Sunday.
Saturday was a hell of a lot of fun too. He made a tough par save on the 17th, and then got up-and-down from behind the 18th green for a 68. "I doubt he's been called Zach that many times".
Meanwhile Schauffele, at 24 the same age as Spieth, shot a 67 to considerably boost his own chances of a first major victory.
Kisner hit 5-iron off the first tee on Thursday.
"It will be more hard tomorrow in the wind for sure", Spieth, who launched his third round with an eagle after driving the first green and then took full advantage of the ideal scoring conditions, told reporters.
In a cruel stroke of misfortune, all eight Australians at Carnoustie copped the worst of the Open's notoriously fickle weather conditions in the first two rounds as Americans Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar cashed in on golden sunshine to soar up the leaderboard on day two.
Not much in golf compares with Woods on a charge.
"The way Francesco played today was handsome", said Woods after ending in a tie for the sixth spot.
With excitement mounting around the sprawling links course Woods punched in another superb approach shot on the par-five 14th and two-putted for his sixth birdie of the day.
The only bad tee shot was at 18, where he almost pulled the new TaylorMade driving iron out of bounds left. He had a bit of room, laid up well short of the burn and threw a wedge into the green for a gutsy closing par. Spieth shot 6-under 65 to finish the third round tied with Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele at 9 under.
"Oh, it was a blast", Woods would say afterward. I played pretty similar to this at the Players Championship but not like this in one of these big four events.
McIlroy is, like Woods, four back after dropping a shot at the last.
"I can't find the words right now, but one picture would do it." he tweeted in both English and Italian, attaching a picture of little brother Francesco pumping his fist after winning the British Open.
He stunned everyone with a T-2 finish at the Valspar Championship, where he contended from start to finish and came within one shot of a playoff.
His approach was clinical and he rolled in a six-foot birdie putt that was greeted by a cheer that rang round the parched expanses.
He followed that up with a T-5 against a loaded field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Playing a major, let alone contending in one, seemed like a reasonable goal.
The Indian, who tuned 22 on Saturday, said it was his best birthday ever to be playing the Open Championship this weekend, but felt he could have made a few more birdies in a decent even-par 71 outing.
He's not the only one.