Blubberin’ Bubba: Pretty in Pink

Posted: April 9, 2012 by Kodi in Hitting the Greens

Bubba Watson came out of the woods, literally, to win the 2012 Masters Championship!

Watson and Louis Oosthuizen were in a memorable sudden death battle for that green jacket

There’s nothing quite like a mothers love but even Bubba has to be a little embarrassed for the water works on Sunday

It’s hard to imagine that in this day in age a player who has never taken a golf lesson or analyzed their swing on video would come away a Masters Champion. Bubba Watson was able to head back to Georgia and capture a green jacket after a dramatic sudden death playoff scenario. One of the most prestigious events in the sporting world didn’t fail to entertain fans worldwide on the way to Bubba’s memorable win. The event is the first major championship of the season on the PGA Tour and many of the world’s greatest golfers had lofty expectations to secure their names on the trophy and an admired jacket in their wardrobe.

It’s not hard to find Bubba Watson on the golf course with his hot pink driver and matching attire not to mention he Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler made a great Youtube video for charity. Ooh Da Lally Lally does Bubba look great in overalls. Watson has had a few victories on the PGA Tour but isn’t the household name he’s going to become after sporting the green jacket. Watson was able to force a playoff with South African Louis Oosthuizen after he scored birdies on 13,14,15 and 16 while getting par on 17 and 18. Watson played the final 6 holes -10 for the tournament.

With that ferocious comeback on the back 9 Watson caught up to Louis who scored the Masters second albatross or double eagle ever in the history of the tournament. Oosthuizen hit a 4 iron 240 yards into the hole on the par 5 2nd hit gave a stroke back when he bogeyed #4 and went out with a -2 34. Oosthuizen’s back 9 wasn’t impressive either coming in with a -1 35 and his -3 69 gave Watson a chance to tie him at -10 for the tournament. The two faced off in a sudden death playoff match that began on the 18th and would continue to the 10th if necessary.

Watson was -1 on the final hole for the tournament while Louis was Even but both players gave themselves birdie putts on the 18th green. Oosthuizen was out and put a solid stroke on the ball but it just wouldn’t roll over into the hole and he was forced to take a par. Bubba had a 8 footer for the win but Watson pushed the putt left from the get go and his uneasiness as well as the crowds was captured in one of the greatest golf photos I can remember in a long time. Watson went to his caddie immediately to discuss the clear misread before tapping in for par and moving on to the 2nd playoff hole.

Neither player had success at the 10th hole with both players playing it +1 the previous 4 times through and the commentators began to question Bubba’s nerves. It seemed almost as if Watson could hear them and proceeded to smash his pink driver into the ball and push it deep into the pines down the right side of the fairway. Louis played it safe and drove into the middle of the fairway but then his conservative approach left him with a shot below the green but his competitor was in the woods. Bubba spent some time looking at what he was able to do but his lie gave him a mere 15 feet to work with before driving his ball into the tree’s canopy. Watson set up for what may be the greatest shot in the Masters history.

It is better than Ford’s bunker shot in 1957, Woods chip-in back in 2005, and makes Phil Mickelson’s shot through the woods in 2010 look like a walk in the park. The only shot in my opinion that still ranks above the shot Watson made was the only other double eagle in Masters history that allowed Gene Sarazen to beat Craig Wood in the 1035 Masters, also known as the Shot Heard Round the World! Bubba’s ball was laying in pine straws and if he wanted to land his ball on the green he would have to hit a slow riser that could turn on a dime and hook over 30 yards while traveling another 135 yards just to get to the green. Not only did Bubba do that but he also put it within 15 feet. After Oosthuizen pushed is approach shot above the hole he was left with a difficult downhill putt for par that he would eventually miss and card a bogey.

Bubba lagged his putt just inches from the hole and everyone knew he was about to tap in for victory. The crowd erupted as he approached his par putt but he waved his hand down below his waist as if to tell them that this isn’t in the bag yet. Watson hit his putt and immediately began to let his emotions roll down his cheek while he embraced his supporters. I found it surprising that the very first person Bubba found on that 10th green was his mother and it made for another incredible picture of blubberin’ Bubba. This was the 9th time that there has been extra holes since the Masters switched to a sudden death playoff scenario and it has never lasted more than 2 holes.

Bubba Watson became just the third southpaw to win a green jacket joining 3-time winner Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir. Like all of the champions before him Bubba had a lot of adversity to overcome on his way to winning at Augusta National. His caddie nearly left him, his father died in 2010, his wife was unable to have children, Gerry “Bubba” Watson Jr. had a lot on his plate but it seems that the tides have turned. Bubba’s first PGA Tour victory came on the 2nd playoff hole of the 2010 Travelers Championship just after his father lost his battle to lung cancer. Watson captured the hearts of many fans with his post-match interview that evening bringing many to tears.

Watson is a “big kid” according to friend and fellow Tour golfer Rickie Fowler, explaining that he has always known Bubba to wear his emotions on his sleeve because “that’s just who he is.” Bubba is a natural golfer who set himself no boundaries but Watson was warned by caddie, Ted Scott, that he needed to get his act together. Watson can charm the pants off of you with his southern drawl, impress you with his car from the Dukes of Hazzard The General Lee, and in Scott’s case drive you crazy with “Bubba golf.” Bubba golf is a style that drives the ball longer than anyone on Tour, always keeping the pedal on the floor, and taking unwarranted risks without regrets no matter what the results.

“I attack. I always attack,” Bubba says “I don’t like to go to the center of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot. Who doesn’t? That’s why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot.” It wasn’t that Scott was asking Bubba to stop going for it all but that he would analyze the risk versus the reward and weigh the two options rather than blindly swinging his golf clubs. Watson went back to Bubba golf on Sunday afternoon and it turned out that all of those reckless shots in the past were a warm up for that beauty he hit on the 10th during the 2nd playoff hole.

Watson became a Masters Champion just three weeks after he and his wife Angie celebrated the successful adoption of their new baby boy Caleb. The couple was struggling through the adoption process for over 4 years the two were finally able to welcome their family’s new addition in March. Bubba has been through a lot and looks forward to going home and changing a few diapers while spending time with his wife and baby. Before the tournament even started Bubba was asked how it would feel to bring home a championship for his son and he started crying so much that he couldn’t answer the question.

On Sunday it was more of the same, with the water works starting during an emotional embrace between he and his caddie and then the water works really began to flow when his mom met him on the 10th green. Bubba was asked if this was a dream come true but the always resilient Watson replied “I’ve never had a dream go this far, so I can’t say it’s a dream come true.” Watson did however embrace that he was a changed man and that “a few years ago, I was living the wrong way.” “Every golf shot was controlling how mad I got, how I was on the golf course. I was so wrapped up in what everybody else was doing” but Watson said that he “thought about it” and “wanted to focus hard.”

Many golf fans were hoping that Tiger Woods would be towards the top of the 2012 Masters leaderboard but in actuality Tiger had his worst showing at Augusta in his career. Woods strung 4 consecutive rounds under par two weeks ago at Bay Hill by getting a birdie on 12 of the 16 par 5 holes. Last year Woods was in contention at the Masters after being -10 at the par 5s in Augusta. This year Woods finished +5 after 72 holes, 15 strokes behind Watson, and his troubles came on those pesky par 5s. Woods struggled to hit greens in regulation and would play the 4 par 5 holes at -1 for the week. Woods got so frustrated that after a bad 2nd shot he dropped his iron after his follow through, cursed and would kick the club in anger. Tiger has had problems with his golf etiquette in the past and his outbursts this week will not help reform a negative perception from the public.

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