It was cool and all yesterday to see 21-year-old Jordan Spieth surround Augusta National and make it come out with its hands up, shooting the lowest first round of the Masters (64) since 1996.
But if this really is A Tradition Unlike Any Other, tradition had its day, too. Specifically, the tradition that dictates that at least one geezer will make a little noise on Masters weekend, even if he does so while leaning hard on his cane and cupping a hand around his ear to catch the roars vibrating through the pines.
And so: Ernie Els, ladies and gentlemen.
He's 45-years-old. He's never won the Masters. And if anyone's ever uttered a bad word about him, it must have been late at night in a really loud place where no one could hear it.
Els shot a 5-under 67 on Thursday and is tied for second, amply qualifying him as this year's official Geezer Hope. As a man well north of the Cranky Old Guy line myself, I lift my glass of Metamucil to him. May he go out three more times and teach Augusta a thing or two about respecting one's elders, not to mention schooling all those young'uns surrounding him.
Not that I think it will happen, mind you. It never does (well, except for that one time when a certain J. Nicklaus pulled it off). But elderly folk cling hard to our fantasies, so please don't ruin it just yet by having Ernie blow up to a 75 today while Spieth and the rest of the kids run all over getting into stuff they're not supposed to, like more 64s and the like.
That's not too much to ask, is it?