2012 Masters

If you like drama, excitement, disappointment, and creativity, this year’s Masters was all of that and more.  Golf’s most prestigious tournament showed exactly why it takes four nearly mistake free rounds to win a green jacket. Going into this event the past 13 majors have had 13 different winners, 11 of which were first time champions. This year’s Masters continued the trend with long hitter Bubba Watson taking home the trophy. With only three previous wins on the PGA tour there are many people who are wondering just who Bubba Watson is.
               
Most people that know Bubba Watson know that he is continuously one of the longest hitters on tour, but who is he really? You might be surprised to hear that he has never taken a formidable lesson in his life nor has he seen his swing on video. This is shocking news because most pros like to analyze their swing to microscopic measures and tweak their swing accordingly. Not Bubba however, when he plays he seems to have a nonchalant attitude towards the game and seems to actually have fun on the course unlike many other players who get frustrated. This type of attitude might have been just the key for what allowed Bubba to birdie 4 straight holes on the back nine Sunday at Augusta.
               
At the start of the round Sunday Bubba was 3 strokes behind leaders Mickelson and Hanson and one stroke behind his playing partner Louis Oosthuizen. After starting off strong with a birdie he failed to take advantage of the par-5 second hole while his playing partner Oosthuizen manage to pull off the impossible with the first ever double-eagle in Masters history on that hole. After just two holes Bubba saw himself 4 strokes behind Oosthuizen at -10. Throughout the next nine holes he managed to get down to -7 while Oosthuizen fell to -8. Then after bogeying the 12th holes it seemed as if Bubba saw his chances disappear. Little did the viewers know that he was about mimic last years Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and birdie 4 consecutive holes (13 thru 16.) At this point Bubba and Oosthuizen were tied at -10 and both finished there forcing a playoff. After both players par the 18th first playoff hole they both hit troubling tee shots on the 10th. Oosthuizen was in better shape in the rough while Bubba was in the woods and seemed to be doomed lay up.

The next shot was the best of his career and will be in on the Masters highlight reel for years to come. In the woods 154 yards out, and under the trees would be a punch out for nearly every golfer except Bubba Watson. The crafty lefty took out his 52 degree gap wedge and banana hooked the ball about 40 yards and landed it about 15 feet from the cup. He continued to par the hole while Oosthuizen barely missed his par putt and won the legendary green jacket.

It could be argued if Bubba won with his creativity or Mickelson’s lost the tournament with his triple bogey on the 4th hole. After Phil’s tee shot went left of the green and under a bush, Mickelson tried to turn his club around attempting to swing righty and progress the ball just enough so that he could get a decent look at his next shot. After barely moving the ball on his first attempt Phil tried the same shot again and moved it a few yards to the side. He continued to make a mess of the hole and finished with a 3 over 6 on the par-3. It is very easy to criticize Mickelson for not taking a drop on this shot after seeing the results; however, how many times have we seen Phil successfully hit shots that when he addressed the ball we would all think to ourselves 'what is he thinking? There is no way this shot can be hit,' only to see him prove us wrong once again. We can look back and say 'if Phil took a drop and bogeyed the hole he would have finished at -10 and bought himself in a playoff with Watson and Oosthuizen,' but that would be doing Watson a disservice to just how brilliantly he played. Mickelson did put himself in an early hole but was still in the mix until the 18th hole, so to say he lost on the 4th hole is not fair to Watson.  

When we reflect at the moments of the 2012 Masters we will remember several things. Some of which would be Phil’s triple bogey on the 4th, Oosthuizen’s double-eagle on the second, Bubba’s 4 consecutive birdies, and Bubba’s shot heard around the world on the second playoff hole to essentially win the tournament. This Masters was yet another one to remember with countless storylines. The one that will stand out in our minds in the nonchalant southern boy Bubba Watson and his unforgettable dream shot from the pine needles on the 10th hole to claim the elusive green jacket.


Contributed by guest blogger Robert Fullam

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