The Masters: No course for old men
For most of its history, the Masters has been generous in allowing former champions to tee it up for almost as long as they want, with a few changes in recent years. But Augusta National is too long a course, the greens are too slippery and it's too hilly a layout for AARP-vintage pros to get through 18 holes without looking, well, old. I say this as an occasional weekend golfer who, at least in age, is old enough for the senior tour.
Just take a look at the sad records of some former Masters champs late in their careers in this tournament:
Arnold Palmer: Played in the Masters until 2004 when he was 74. His last seven rounds were in the 80s, with a high of 89. He missed the cut every year after reaching age 54.
Gary Player: Has missed the cut 10 straight times; in his last 14 rounds he's broken 80 only four times.
Jack Nicklaus: Last played in 2005 when he was 65; missed the cut. At age 63 he shot an embarrassing 85.
Ray Floyd: Now 67, he has missed the cut nine straight years.
Billy Casper: Played in the Masters until he was 73 in 2005. Last six completed rounds were in the 80s, with a high of 87.
Tommy Aaron: Played until 2005 when he was 68. Shot an 87 in 2004, or 20 shots over his age.
Doug Ford: Played until 2001 when he was 78. His last completed rounds: 94, 88, 86, 94, 85.
The moral? There are no white tees at Augusta National.
-- Barry Stavro
Photo: Gary Player watches a shot during a practice round for The Masters on Tuesday. Credit: David Cannon / Getty Images