AUGUSTA - A few years back, the idea of a major champion being won by a player in his 50s would have been laughed at. That is no longer the case.
It did not come to pass at the 78th Masters this week at Augusta National, but it was not that far off.
A record six "golden oldies" made the cut and three of them - 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, 56-year-old Bernhard Langer and 54-year-old Freddie Couples - were in contention until midway through the round.
Jimenez eventually finished fourth, Langer tied for eighth and Couples shared 20th.
As for their peers, 51-year-old Vijay Singh was tied for 37th, 56-year-old Sandy Lyle tied for 44th and 55-year-old Larry Mize was 51st and last.
Asked how it was that so many older players had made it through to Masters weekend and played so well during the week, Jimenez, best known for his portly belly and his love of cigars and red wine replied: "Well, the people, they take care of themselves. They are being more healthy.
"If you don't want to be here at 50, you shouldn't be here. I love the game, I love competing, and probably that is the reason." Those sentiments were echoed by Langer, known throughout his career as being a fitness fiend who never smoked, never consumed alcohol and who "looked after himself." "I think the guys stay in better shape and they know that there's a great Tour with the Champions (Over-50) Tour waiting for them," he said.