AUGUSTA -- Grandpa, bless his heart, frequently sang the praises of "a great game you can enjoy at any age."

You know, like the latest, craziest final round at the Masters. There were generation gaps every few holes here Sunday in a tee-to-green, teen-to-geezer scramble for eagles and glory.

Remember when "old man" Jack Nicklaus miraculously won his last Masters in 1986? He was only 46, almost fresh legs in this crowd.

Why not take up golf at 60?

Or 16?

Or anywhere in between those magical ages belonging to super senior Tom Watson and amateur hearthrob Matteo Manassero?

Finally, it came down to steady Phil Mickelson's 40th birthday present arriving a few months early as The Prince of the Pine Straw held off 24-year-old Anthony Kim, fellow thirtysomethings Lee Westwood, K.J. Choi and Tiger Woods, and Fred Couples, 50.

In a golf year defined before this week by a family in turmoil Mickelson starred in a beautiful family tale. The pink ribbon on the left side of Lefty's black cap on the way to his third green jacket calls attention to breast cancer.

His wife Amy, his mother Mary and their struggle.

Mickelson finally put on the green jacket, with the help of 2009 champion Angel Cabrera, already 40.

Then all the Mickelson generations celebrated on a grand Sunday for all ages.

All in the families

The Watson family had fun, too. Watson, 60 and a grandpa himself, struck around for the weekend after his stunning start and finished a solid 1 under par.

He gave much of the credit to his caddy, son Michael.

"Sure, that was the highlight," Watson said. "Having your son say, 'Hey, dad, I got a great plan' and the plan came out perfectly."

Come back, Jack.

Arnie ought to be re-thinking retirement.

Today, the Augusta National's Degree of Difficulty Committee has to be seriously considering ways to senior-proof the golf course.

Look at Couples. He got grayer with each round, and kept grinding.

It was elementary for Watson; he picked Couples to win this Masters two weeks ago.


Until Couples splashed down, literally. Double-bogey at No. 12.

"I figured that with an 8-iron I could go right for the pin on 12, knowing that I was five behind Phil at the time," Couples said. "I just didn't hit it very good and it just didn't carry. It was not a good shot."

Augusta, 2054

Like your Sunday contenders in their 20s?

Kim is a Texan coming off a PGA Tour victory in Houston. He appears on the way to a breakout year.

Teen idolizing?

Manassero not only made the cut as a 16-year-old, the Italian boy wonder finished with a 72 on Sunday and at 4 over for the tournament won the low amateur Silver Cup.

"Definitely will help me in all areas, to play with these guys and be comfortable with this crowd and to understand I can compete with these guys," Manassero said.

Soon the guy will be old enough to have a beer.

Sunday, Manassero was asked about Watson and if he, too, would like to play well at Augusta at age 60.

"I would be fine with that, yes," Manassero said.

But watch out, kid. By the 2054 Masters, Anthony Kim will be only 68 and trying to impress honorary starters Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Reach Gene Sapakoff at

or (843) 937-5593.