Turning Back the Clock: Thursday at the Masters

Wow. That's all I can say at this point. This was quite possibly the best Thursday at Augusta National that I have ever lived through.

Among the reasons why this is the case:

1. Freddie Couples is on the top of the leaderboard. When a humble, laid-back player jumps to lead a tournament, you have to be happy. This is especially the case when this player is now playing primarily on the Champions Tour. I love a blast from the past, and Couples provided it today.

2. Tom Watson is trailing Couples by one stroke. In a 90s vs. 80s showdown on the leaderboard (with Mr. Couples), Tom Watson has again sipped from the fountain of youth to put himself in contention at a major championship. While his peers have left the game or have lost their edge, Watson has somehow managed to regain the talent he displayed at the Open last year. I don't get it, but it's awesome.

3. I have a reason to talk about Tiger that isn't related to sleeping around, getting attacked by his wife, using drugs, or the like. That is good news. His comeback could not have been more of a success. Posting a 68 has to extinguish any doubts that the public had about his readiness to win again. Tiger hasn't lost a step during his time off in rehab.

4. Phil Mickelson is right next to Tiger. If this trend continues, we could see an epic showdown of golf's hottest names from the past THREE decades. Mickelson has proven that he knows Augusta National's intricacies about as well any other person on the PGA Tour at this point.

On the other hand, there were a few disappointments today.

1. Jim Furyk already shot himself out of the tournament. He posted 80. The Pittsburgh Steelers fan can pack his bags home already. As a Furyk fan, I always like to see him in the mix. I guess it's not his year.

2. Chad Campbell is giving Furyk a run for his money at the bottom of the leaderboard. After narrowly losing in a three-way playoff at last year's Masters, I thought this might finally be Campbell's time to shine. It wasn't. He is in 89th with a score of 79.

I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. This Masters is shaping up to be everything I had hoped it would be.

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