Bubba Watson wins the 76th edition of the Masters. Bubba Watson makes an incredible shot on the second hole of a playoff to defeat Louis Oosthuizen and win the Masters 2012 title. “I never got this far in my dreams, so it’s not a dream come true.”
Bubba Watson wins the Masters
On another typical Easter Sunday at the Masters, where mayhem, stress and a few miracles matched the frequency of the roars booming through this cathedral in the pine trees, a big-hitting lefty from Bagdad, Fla., ended up in Butler Cabin.
Bubba Watson, a man of deep faith who was dressed in all white and wielded a driver painted pink, defeated Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of a playoff to win the 76th edition of the first major of the season. Watson two-putted from 12 feet after hitting his second shot from out of the trees and from 155 yards away, curving it more than 40 yards to reach the putting surface of No. 10 in the fading light after a brilliant day of sunshine and little wind.
Bursting into tears after tapping in the winning putt and hugging mom, Molly, and friends, including PGA Tour player Rickie Fowler, Watson, 33, who lost in a playoff in the 2010 PGA Championship, won his first major championship title and slipped on the green jacket a few minutes later in Butler Cabin. Defending champion Charl Schwartzel, a friend of Oosthuizen’s from childhood, slipped the coveted jacket onto Watson, who became the 14th different player to win in the past 14 major championships.
“I never got this far in my dreams, so it’s not a dream come true,” said Watson, 33, who and wife Angie adopted a one-month old boy, Caleb, two weeks ago. “It’s a blessing. To go home to my new son will be a lot of fun.
“Golf isn’t everything for me. If I would have lost today, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. To win is awesome, but I’ll go back to real life next week.
“I still haven’t changed a diaper.”
Watson (68) and Oosthuizen (69), who started the day three and two shots out of the lead of Peter Hanson, respectively, played in the second-to-last group and finished at 10-under-par 278. Oosthuizen took the lead when he delivered a sonic boom on the par-5 second when he holed his second shot from 260 yards, becoming the first to make a double eagle on the hole. It was only the fourth double eagle in Masters history. His shot with a long iron landed on the green and then rolled and rolled and rolled for nearly 15 seconds before dropping into the hole for a rare 2.
But Watson charged back with four birdies in a row starting at the 13th, and his two pars in the playoff were enough.
“It was a great day out there. We had a lot of fun,” said Oosthuizen, who was trying to join Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Masters and the British Open at St. Andrews, another magical place and the home of golf. Oosthuizen had never broken par at Augusta in three previous tournaments when he missed the cut each time. “Bubba just hit an unbelievable shot there on 10. I didn’t play badly. Bubba earned it.”
On a wild day when four players had at least a share of the lead – overnight leader Peter Hanson, Oosthuizen, Watson and Matt Kuchar – there were two players making aces – Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott each on No. 16. And although the tournament came down to Watson and Oosthuizen to settle matters, four players were just a shot here and a shot there from joining them in the playoff. Phil Mickelson (72), Hanson (73), Kuchar (69) and first-round leader Lee Westwood (68) finished in a tie for third.
Mickelson, in his quest for a fourth green jacket, was done in by two triple bogeys during the week, the first when he lost a ball on the 10th hole in Thursday’s first round, the second when he hit two shots right-handed to get out of the bushes to the left of the par-3 fourth hole on Sunday.
Starting the day one shot out of the lead and in the final group after an electrifying 30 on the back nine Saturday led to a 66, Mickelson fell off the first page of the leade board when he hit his tee shot into deep shrubs to the left of the fourth hole. Thinking he’d be worse off if he took a penalty drop, he tried to hit the shot out of the trouble – right-handed. It didn’t advance very far, and he had to hit another right-handed shot that basically went straight left and stayed well short of the green. His chip shot ended in the bunker, from which he almost holed out but one-putted and left with triple. It was part of a front nine that was classic Mickelson, who rarely does dull and doesn’t do conventional – six pars, one birdie, one bogey and the triple bogey.
“You just can’t be left of the green on that hole, but I was,” said Mickelson, the champion in 2004, 2006 and 2010. “But I had a lot of chances on the back nine. I just couldn’t quite get it going.”
Tiger Woods, seeking his fifth green jacket and first major championship since winning the 2008 U.S. Open, never got it going, lost his temper and kicked his 9-iron in the second round that caused a commotion heard round the world, and left wondering about his golf swing. Woods didn’t break par in any of his rounds for only the second time in 16 starts as a pro, and finished at 5-over par. Historically, Woods eats up the par-5s, but this week netted just two birdies in 16 attempts.
“It was very difficult,” Woods says of the week. “I didn’t play the par-5s at all. It was an off week at the wrong time. I have to go back and do some work and be ready for the next one.”
Watson won his first major without ever having a golf lesson or ever watching his swing on video. Much like Mickelson, Watson is an unconventional sort who uses his creativity and power to his advantage.
Earlier this year, Watson paid $110,000 for the original General Lee, the orange Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Watson, who has won four PGA Tour titles, started a charity drive that raises money for cancer prevention, awareness and prevention by using a Ping driver painted pink.
Earlier in the week, Watson downplayed his chances to win, saying he’d be happy finishing in the top-10. But that’s the way Watson is – don’t expect too much, go about your business, and if it’s good enough, then it’s good enough.
After rounds of 69-71-70, Watson still didn’t talk about winning, but knew he was playing well and putting well.
With a variety of hooks, fades, flop shots and chips shots – and plenty of booming drives well over 300 yards long – Watson kept coming.
“After he dropped that 2 on me at 2, I just kept my head down because I knew there were birdies on the back nine,’ Watson said. “And I was over in the trees on 10 in regulation, so I was used to that shot when I got into the playoff. I had a huge gap, had to hook it about 40 yards, and it worked out.
“I just got into the trees, I saw a crazy shot in my head, and now I’m wearing the green jacket.” (Steve DiMeglio – USA TODAY)