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A 64 at Augusta

Posted by: Mitch Juricich

Friday, April 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

 Age has always been just a number to me and it has never been an influence on how I felt or acted, until recently.

I guess most people see some sort of significance in certain “numbers”.  In my younger days I sincerely can’t recall any reveling when I became a teenager, or when I turned 18.  Turning 21 meant I could vote and I remember that being kind of cool.  But I had no horrific feeling when I hit the “Big 3-0”, nor did I notice that my life suddenly began when I hit 40.  I remember someone saying, “Well, you’re half dead now that you turned 50.”  At the time, the life expectancy for a male was 76 so I figured I was already 12 years past the half way point.

It’s probably at this point you’re wondering what this has to do with golf.  Well, it involves the Masters.

In years past the honorary first tee shots were hit by the likes of Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson, all legendary players of the God-given game.  Regardless of my feelings for these great players, they were from a different era.  They always seemed old to me. 

A few years ago the honorary tee shot privilege fell to Arnold Palmer, and later he was joined in the ceremony by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Watching three of my child hood heroes in that role suddenly took on a whole new meaning. There was a time when Palmer and Nicklaus alternated winning the Masters, and Player became the first foreign born winner.  They were “The Big Three”.  Now they are past their prime.  They don’t play much anymore.  They have taken over the role of Snead, Sarazen and Nelson, and watching The King, The Golden Bear and The Black Knight hit the opening shots at Augusta has had an impact.

Suddenly, my posture seems to be a few degrees forward and my back is a bit sore.  I reflect on the fact that my barber has had to pay more attention to the hair growing out of my ears.  And speaking of hair, I start to wonder where most of it went?  And come to think of it, I now pull my car out of the garage using mirrors because turning around is absolutely out of the question.  I realize that when I fill out a questionnaire or an application I now have to check the very last box under the age category.  I wonder how many invitations I’ve received to join AARP?

My age is still 8 under par at Augusta and I have a ton of memories of the tournament, memories that do make me feel my age for Masters Week.  Monday I’ll be fine, if it doesn’t rain.

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