Monday, April 9

A Green Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson
THE 2012 MASTERS WILL BE REMEMBERED for two shots—Louis Oosthuizen’s 254-yard 4-iron hole-out on the par-5 2nd hole, a double eagle that vaulted the South African into the lead and Masters history books; and Bubba Watson’s curving pitching wedge from deep in the pines at the 10th hole that secured an unlikely par and a Green Jacket on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

A third shot will also linger in people’s memories, certainly Phil Mickelson’s. The tee shot that got away from Lefty at the par-3 4th hole resulted in a triple bogey and potentially cost him a fourth Masters title. You know that hurts.

“If I have a swing, I have a shot,” says Bubba, who dramatically illustrated his mantra late on Sunday evening with a towering wedge from the pine straw that hooked—what?—something like 40 yards.

“It looked like a curveball going to the right,” said Oosthuizen, who I thought would win the tournament. I sensed Louis, another one of those composed South Africans, would get it done and that Bubba might come undone. “That shot he [Watson] hit definitely won him the tournament,” commented the 2010 British Open champion.

It did and it didn’t. Bubba doesn’t even get into a sudden-death playoff without striking the shots, staying composed and making all those missable little putts. Somehow he did it. Somehow he held himself together. We knew he had the talent, but now Bubba has passed the most grueling of golf exams, winning the Masters and a first major. It was impressive.

The unflappable Oosthuizen looked like he was on a leisurely stroll to Butler Cabin, especially after Phil sent his long-iron shot into the bleachers. But even Louis, whose heart rate was of great interest to CBS golf analyst Nick Faldo, is human. That historic albatross at the 2nd hole messed with his mind.

“That was my first double-eagle ever,” he said, “so it was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course.”

In the end, and to my surprise, Bubba has a Green Jacket. Louis has that albatross. Lee Westwood, unfortunately, has another near miss. I feel badly for him. He is the best player without a major. If he had putted a little better, he might have two or three by now.

What do we take from this Masters?

One obvious conclusion is that the current golf era is producing a lot of talented and resilient players who are capable of winning majors. With Watson’s victory, there have now been five first-time winners in the last six Masters. In addition, the last eight majors have been won by first-timers.

Who will be next?


Johny Symons said...

Agreed on this point

"the current golf era is producing a lot of talented and resilient players who are capable of winning majors"

but it would take decades to get talent like "Tiger Woods"

madforgolf said...

Golf is such an unpredictable game, you need masses of talent but you also need a little bit of luck. He is a brave golfer, he takes a risk because he is so sure of his ability. Wish I could be more like that!!

Bo said...

This may be one of those "if I did it at Augusta then I can do it anywhere" type of beliefs that may propel Bubba into winning multiple majors. He definitely has the shot making ability to win multiple majors but it comes down to putting woes that keeps him out of the winner's circle.

Hopefully he will figure out the putting issue on his own or maybe he will finally hire a putting coach. If he does it should be one who will teach him green reading skills because that is the area he struggles with. AimPoint Technologies would do him good.