Happy Measters - that's Masters Easter, of course.
As we head out for Easter dinner this evening, Bubba and Oostie were battling it out for the Green Jacket at Augusta National. "Just five more minutes," my dad pled as we inched toward the door attempting to make our restaurant reservation.
When the Masters finally wrapped forty-five minutes later, we were late for dinner but still able to catch the fading light over the marina at Casey Key. The lingering image of this year's tourney (and well worth missing our table time) was a tearful Bubba Watson, embracing his mother as he finally broke into the ranks of golf's major winners with a well-deserved victory.
Bubba Watson (c) Emily Rose Bennett/Staff/The Augusta Chronicle/ZUMAPRESS.com
Tiger Woods may have arrived at Augusta as a favorite to win his fifth Green Jacket but he left with his worst score as a pro and opened the door for a first time winner.
In 2010 Watson, who is a Floridian and favorite in the Gulf coast city I'm visiting, found himself in another playoff for a major championship. He ultimately fell to Martin Kaymer in the PGA Championship but this year, there would be no such fade.
Watson's playing partner for the day, South African Louis Oosthuizen, started the final round seven under par. Oostie hit a double eagle on the second hole allowing him to take the lead. Watson began the final round six under par, three strokes off the lead. He shot a 68 (four under par) to reach ten under par. That round was enough to put Watson 10-under and into a tie for the lead, a tie that would hold up into the playoff (by now we were all - even the non-golfers - in front of the television and officially bailing on our dinner reservation)
In the dramatic sudden death, both Oosthuizen and Watson made par on the 18th hole. On the next hole (the 10th), both golfers drove their tee shots towards the woods to the right of the hole. Oostie’s shot landed in the rough, while Watson’s shot landed deep into the woods. Watson was able to recover from his bad tee shot by placing his second shot to within ten feet from the hole. Oostie finished the hole at one over par, while Watson parred the hole to ultimately defeat Oosthuizen.
Phil 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.
Minutes after winning his first major championship title, the 33-year old Watson slipped on the Green Jacket in Butler Cabin. Watson, one of the few left-handed golfers on tour, 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.
"I never got this far in my dreams, so it's not a dream come true," said Watson, who along with his wife Angie (former UGA Basketball player) 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.
Congrats Bubba! And thanks for making this Easter Sunday more fun than usual.
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