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?