As the giddy madness finally started to subside as they stood at the 18th green, a very mature thought raced through the mind of one of the youngest players in the Masters field.
Rickie Fowler sauntered over to another first-timer in the event, Austrialia's Jason Day, and offered a grown-up observation that belied their very few years. Nearby stood fellow young 'un and playing partner Rory McIlroy.
Westwood uses wiles to hang with kiddies. Read >>
Lefty just a bit off, helping open the door for ... who?. Read >>
More on the Masters
Round 2 recap | Leaderboard
Tiger burns brightly at Masters again
More from Steve Elling
Fowler, Barnes face steep historic grade
Are Masters weekends made for Mickelson?
Ogilvy hopes to put some ahhs in Ozzie
Schwartzel gets by with help from friends
Flags have players on pins and needles
Complete round 2 highlights
Highlights from holes 15 and 16
McIlroy confident after round 2
Couples on strong second round
Jason Day on impressive second round
More Masters Coverage
Leaderboard | Course Guide
"You know, this is a pretty cool place to be," Fowler said.
Pretty good piece of perspective for three guys whose combined age -- 66 -- is less than some past champions hanging around this week, like, say, Jack Nicklaus.
"We were just sitting there kind of enjoying it, and kind of out looking over the rest of the course," Fowler said. "It was exactly what I said -- a pretty cool place to be."
As though age and experience haven’t taken enough of a beating in golf of late, the Peach State morphed into a Peachfuzz State on Friday, as all three vaulted into the top seven after an electric day at Augusta National.
Twenty-five years ago, the 46-year-old Nicklaus won the Masters, a win for the ages. This week, the ink is barely dry on the birth certificates of several possible winners.
Leading the way, literally, is 21-year-old McIlroy, who has been sneaking up on a major championship for parts of three years now. He followed his opening 65 with a solid 69 on Friday and only has one bogey in 36 holes to cement a two-stroke lead heading into the weekend.
As if the child's play of hanging around for two days with Fowler, 22, and Day, 23, isn’t enough, the Northern Ireland star is staying at a rented home with three mates from his home track in Holywood, throwing around the football, decompressing and generally kicking back.
"I think it's a big help having the guys with me this week, especially in the position I'm in, because I can switch off," McIlroy said. "I'd rather talk about anything but golf whenever I leave this place."
There was plenty of youthful jabbering in his playing threesome, too. Fowler knew as soon as he saw the pairings this week that the trio would have an enjoyable two days together, but this was storybook fare. Day, playing in only his third major championship, shot an 8-under 64, the lowest round of the week. McIlroy showed zero nerves and clearly seems the man to beat. Is man the right word at this age?
"With Jason and I, it being our first Masters, Rory is basically a veteran, even though he's younger than both of us, I knew we were going to go out there and have a fun time," Fowler said. "It was nice for Rory to kind of pave the way with a good round yesterday and kind of get Jason and I pumped up a bit. We were just trying to chase him down and it helped us play well being around everyone playing well at the same time."
There was some osmosis-driven mojo going around. Fowler, who has played in only five majors, shot 69 and moved into a tie for seventh, the worst spot of the trio. Day, with the best round of the week Friday, jumped up to second and will play with McIlroy again Saturday. No reason why we shouldn’t expect more of the same.
"It was fantastic," said McIlroy, who is playing in his ninth major. "We sort of fed off one another and the crowd really got behind us on the back nine."
Or maybe it was a squadron of truant officers. At times, the three seem so young compared to their veteran brethren, it's comical. Fowler bought an American football at the Augusta Mall this week and has been trying to learn how to throw it. He posted a photo of himself on Twitter Thursday night that drew plenty of unsolicited comments from civilians. He looked like he was aiming for Mars.
"I might need work on my technique," McIlroy laughed.
His golf swing, not so much.
Fowler almost got run over out there, especially with Day lighting up the back nine with a 31 to jump everybody on the board but McIlroy.
"Being around good golf helps," Fowler said. "I was just trying to keep up with those guys."
Fowler is bucking some pretty serious history with his bid. According to Masters officials, the last player to make the tournament his first official tour victory was club pro Claude Harmon in 1948, but in less than two seasons as pro, the reigning PGA Tour Rookie if the Year has pretty clearly indicated that he is no shrinking violet.
"I'm in the field, I'm in position, I have a chance to win," Fowler said calmly. "That's my goal this weekend, put myself in position for Sunday. I think any place is a good place for a first win and I would love it to be here."
Day won last year at the Byron Nelson and was in contention at the PGA Championship -- an event McIlroy actually led on the back nine of the final round. McIlroy has a win on both the European and PGA tours, and finished third in the last two majors of 2010.
Day hit the shot of the day when he almost slipped and fell in the slippery pine straw at No. 9 but knocked his approach to two feet for an easy birdie.
"It's like skating on ice," Day said.
It might be thin ice the rest of the way for the comparatively inexperienced trio, but then again, they got this far with the training wheels barely removed. Day even quoted McIlroy when talking about the challenge that awaits all three of them.
"You know, obviously I've played two good rounds to get myself here in this position," Day said. "Obviously I'm not going to back down because I've got lack of experience.
"You know, I'm just going to go out there and try and stick to my game plan and not worry about the score. Like Rory said, you have to play the course; you're not playing the leaderboard. You're not playing anyone else.
"You're playing yourself and you're playing the course. So as long as you can stick to your game plan and just keep plugging along, you know, hopefully you'll walk down 18 having the lead."cheap jerseys wholesalecheap hockey jerseyscheap custom jerseys