Emotional Watson lands his second Masters title 0
Masters winner Bubba Watson, has 2013 winner Adam Scott (R), present him his green jacket after winning the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 13, 2014. (REUTERS)
As Jordan Spieth was tapping in his par putt on the 72nd hole of the Masters to clear the stage, Bubba Watson sidled over to make one last check with his caddy, Ted Scott.
“I’m not very good at math,” Watson said to Scott, “but we’ve got four putts to win, right?”
“He goes: ‘Yes, just lag it down.’
“I said: ‘It’s fast?’
“It’s real fast.”
“I said: ‘All right. It’s a lot better for my nerves this way.’
With a three-stroke lead, Watson simply cozied his 15-footer down near the hole and tapped it in to win his second Masters title in three years. No playoff, no miracle shot out of the woods required this time around.
“The shot out of the woods made me famous, but this one was a lot better for me and my nerves, my family, probably on Teddy. The first one felt like I kind of lucked into it,” said Watson. “This one was the product of a lot of hard work.”
After his first Masters win in 2012, Watson was so distracted that his game deteriorated to a point where he became alarmed. At the end of last year, he rededicated himself.
“It’s been hard work, even though it doesn’t look like I practice that much,” he said. “Hard work, my wife’s dedication. We worked out schedules, how I can practice, practice at a high level, if it’s 30 minutes, if it’s an hour, just get a quick practice in and then come back and be a dad and be a husband. So we figured out our schedule and how to travel better and everything, and here we are today, a couple wins later.
“It took me a year or so to get adjusted that I’m not really that good, I’ve got to keep practising. Finally I got adjusted to it and here we are another green jacket after a year, two years.”
Spieth and Watson started the day tied at five-under-par. Spieth took the lead alone at the second hole, then was joined briefly by Matt Kuchar at six-under when Kuchar pitched in at the third hole. Meanwhile, Watson was off to a slow start, with pars at the first two holes and a bogey at the third. Spieth birdied the second and they both birdied the fourth. When Spieth bogeyed the fifth, his lead was just one.
Both Watson and Spieth birdied six.
“He was off to a hot start and it was important that I was able to match some of his birdies, drop them in on top of him, to keep myself in the game,” said Watson.
Spieth re-established his two-shot advantage with a touchy downhill birdie putt at the seventh.
The game changed dramatically at the eighth and ninth holes. Spieth bogeyed both while Watson was making birdies to go from two down to two up.
Spieth got a shot back when Watson bogeyed the 10th, then lost another when his tee shot at 12 landed in Rae’s Creek. The Watson lead went to three when he birdied 13 taking advantage of a massive drive that might have been out of bounds had it not gotten a favourable bounce off a tree.
“I was just going to hit a hard driver and it just didn’t cut, and I thought I could get there today with the wind situation,” said Watson. “I guess it hit the edge of the trees. We can’t see it from the tree. Kicked out.”
At that point Blixt was in the picture, tied with Spieth at five-under.
Watson opened the door just a crack at the par-five 15th when he made a dangerous decision to hit his second shot to the green through an opening the trees left of the fairway. He went long and left his pitch short of the green but got that up and down for par.
Spieth failed to take advantage of that hiccup, though. His second shot was far right of the green and he, too, settled for par.
From there it was just a walk in the park for Watson.
He was asked if he thought this victory validates him as a great player.
“No,” he said. “No. Again, I just got lucky enough to have two green jackets. I’m just trying to keep my Tour card every year and if people say that I’m a good player, that’s great. But I’m not not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or that I’m one of the greats of the game.
“I play golf because I love it, I love the game, I want to grow the game.
“The game has brought me everything that I’ve ever owned in my life. My parents taught me values through the game of golf. It brought me so much closer to my mom and dad. I’ve got a lot of friends, I’ve traveled the world because of this game, and that’s really why I play it, because I love it. Every day it’s different.”