Eight months after absolutely stunning the world by coming within inches of winning the British Open at age 60, the legendary Tom Watson charged out to an early lead at the Masters, finishing his round with a birdie on 18 to wrap up a spectacular Thursday.
For the ever-casual Watson, this wasn't anything to get too excited about. "I had my son on the bag," he said afterward. "That was a big treat for me to have him out there. I wanted to show him that I could still play Augusta. He said, 'Dad, you can still do this.' " Yeah, I'd say so.
The jaw-dropping stats: Watson's 67 was his first sub-70 round since 1997, and it tied for his lowest round ever at the Masters. Bear in mind that this is a guy who's won this thing twice (in 1977 and 1981) but has made the cut only once since 1997. Assuming the entire field doesn't suddenly catch fire -- or that Watson himself doesn't card a 93 Friday -- it's a safe bet he'll be playing on the weekend for the first time in many, many years.
Now, before we get too wound up in Watson love, it's time for a painful dose of reality. The chances are good Watson won't be around the top of the leaderboard very long. This isn't the kind of course that's right for his skills at this point in his career. But then, we said that last summer at Turnberry, too. So can he snag another green jacket?
"I don't know," he said. "Ask me after Sunday's round."