The British Open is the major championship where the old timers, thanks to firm run-out links setups, can hang around and challenge the contemporary top players in the world. The best example of this was Tom Watson's incredible run at Turnberry in 2009, when the five-time Open Champion missed a putt on 18 to win at 60-plus years old. But The Open is also a tournament where some of the youngest amateurs can make some noise and become a story, as a 17-year-old Justin Rose demonstrated with his eighth place finish at Birkdale in 1998.
On Saturday, ESPN's coverage unintentionally provided a sequence illustrating the stark age contrast that's always prevalent at The Open. Before a commercial break, amateur Jimmy Mullen was shown finishing up his third round 75. Mullen is 19-years-old but looks like he's maybe 13-years-old and just north of 75 pounds:
So we have the fresh-faced Mullen finishing up, cut to commercial break for a little bit of irony with that ridiculous Tony Siragusa shill for Depends.
We then return from break to a 56-year-old Mark O'Meara and 54-year-old Tom Lehman lumbering down the fairway at the start of the third round where both still have a shot to get back into it. O'Meara most likely weighs double Mullen, but the white-haired former winner sauntered down the first to an eventual birdie that brought him within five shots of the lead:
Lehman, on the other hand, narrowly missed his birdie putt, and it looked like the senior star was hurting his back just to make the stroke:
We see the age contrast on local muni golf courses every weekend, but it also exists at the game's biggest tournaments and that was perfectly summed up in a two-minute sequence on ESPN this morning.