PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

Masters setting up as a generational clash

April 09, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Age before beauty? In the case of the 75th Masters, it's all the different ages that are making this tournament a beauty.

Tournament golf -- particularly major-championship golf -- doesn't get any better than when a leader board features players young, old, and in between. Heading into the third round at Augusta National, Saturday's last five pairings present a scenario as inviting as the sport has seen in a while.

Among the 10 golfers, there are three golf generations represented.


McIlroy and Fowler represent the younger set on the leader board, but other generations are represented as well. Photo by Getty Images

Twentysomethings Rory McIlroy (21), Rickie Fowler (22), Jason Day (23) and Alvaro Quiros (28) bring youthful exuberance into the rare air of major weekened pressure.

Ricky Barnes (30), Geoff Ogilvy (33), Tiger Woods (35), Y.E. Yang (39) and K.J. Choi (40), have, to greatly varying degrees, been there before.

So has Fred Couples (51), who would be the Masters' oldest champion, five years older than Jack Nicklaus was when he turned back the clock in 1986.

Is the 25th anniversary of Nicklaus' last hurrah an omen for Couples? Or will the green jacket go to one of the golfers who were tykes when inspired by Woods' first conquest at Augusta in 1997? Woods, or one of the others solidly in their golf middle age may have something to say about that.

The script for the weekend couldn't begin any better.

--* Bill Fields