Scattered Clouds 44° Good Afternoon
Scattered Clouds 44° Good Afternoon

Watson and Manassero prove golf a game for the ages

Tom Watson hits off the first fairway during

Tom Watson hits off the first fairway during the third round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. (April 10, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

AUGUSTA, Ga. - They are 44 years and six shots apart. And they're both in the final round of the Masters; proof once more that golf is a game for the ages and the ageless.

Tom Watson is 60 and after 54 holes, he is at 2-under-par 214, shooting a 73 Saturday. Matteo Manassero is 16 and after 54 holes, having been the youngest ever both to start the tournament and to make the cut, is 4-over 220 after a 73.

In each case, the adjective remarkable is applicable.

Asked what he would take away from the week, Watson, a two-time Masters champion and last year at age 59 losing in a playoff at the British Open, said: "I don't know yet. It depends on how I finish Sunday.''

Asked the same question, Manassero, a young gentleman from Verona, Italy, who last year won the British Amateur said: "I'm thinking it's a good experience. It's a good experience watching guys who have played for 20 years or so on the PGA [Tour].''

Or 39 or so, as Watson.

On Wednesday night, Watson was given the Ben Hogan award for the golfer who returns to the game from serious injury or illness. Watson shared the award with Ken Green.

Watson had hip-replacement surgery in October 2008. Green was in a serious vehicle accident in 2009 in which his brother and girlfriend were killed. His right leg so severely mangled it had to be amputated.

"With all due respect,'' Watson said when called to the dais, "I am unworthy of this award. With that, I'll step aside for Ken Green.''

Young Manassero, who will turn 17 next week, evinces his own humbleness and respect for the game, though he is also confident about his future.

"My game makes me more comfortable and assured of my abilities," Manassero said.

He plans to play the Italian Open in Turin the first week of May, go to St. Andrew's for the British Open and play six other tournaments - he gets seven exemptions, not counting the British - in hopes of earning his European Tour card.

If he doesn't, he'll play on the Challenge Tour, Europe's second tier, and go through qualifying school.

"I'm comfortable playing with these guys and I'm playing OK," Manassero said. "I think I'm ready."

With AP

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