Watson's artistry claims second Masters
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 US Masters | Wrap | 14 Apr 2014
Bubba Watson has today added a second Green Jacket with a three shot win over Masters debutantes, Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt, at Augusta National, the 35 year old’s creative genius again proving the difference on a golf that requires perhaps more imagination and execution than any other.
On a day where so many potential story lines were waiting to be told, including the possibility of the youngest and oldest in Masters history winning the event, it was yet another left hander who took the title, becoming the sixth victory by a left hander in the last twelve stagings, a significantly disproportionate ratio of those who stand on that side of the ball.
Lee Trevino was once heard to say that a golfer can’t talk to a hook but a fade will listen and of course for a left hander that represents a right to left shot, still the shape of shot that best suits Augusta National. It might be a little simplistic but the stats don’t lie.
Watson and Spieth began the final day tied for the lead but Spieth was first to break the deadlock when he birdied the 2nd and he had the lead over Watson and Matt Kuchar, the latter of whom who had also birdied the 2nd.
Kuchar holed from behind the green at the third to join Spieth in the lead but the 20 year old went ahead again when he birdied the 4th from the front bunker to open up a two shot lead.
When Watson birdied the 6th he had moved back within one but Spieth established a two shot break when holed from 15 feet at the 7th and as the final pair moved to the 8th tee he was ahead by two over Watson and by four over Kuchar who had four putted the 4th to fall well off the pace.
By the turn, however, the tournament was turned on its head with two shots swings advantaging Watson at both the 8th and 9th and so, as the tournament entered its now famous last nine holes, Watson led by two over Spieth with Sweden’s Jonas Blixt moving into contention at 4 under and four from the lead.
Watson added another birdie at the 13th, when, after a smashed drive, he had only 144 yards and a 56 degree sand-wedge for his approach and, although he did not make the most of it, a two putt birdie from 45 feet appeared to establish a winning break. The lead was three and it would remain that way until the finish with Blixt joining Spieth in that share of second position.
Watson has been in outstanding form this season, his only hiccup coming when he was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Championship supposedly suffering from an allergy.
“It’s overwhelming,” said the winner after his round. "A small town guy named Bubba has two Green Jackets.
“The team I have had around me – we have always thought I had the talent. I have always played it my way but we always felt I could play at a high level.
“This jacket is for all of those at the University of Georgia. I have always had them on my mind and on my bag.”
Referring to the way this win compared to the last and that he was able to enjoy the moment a little more Watson responded; “To get that up and down on 17 was very big for me as I still would have had a two shot lead but with the three shot lead I grabbed the 4 wood on the 18th tee right away and tried to hit the fairway somewhere and I did. So playing this way was a lot easier especially coming down the last hole knowing I had shots to play with.”
When asked if this victory validates him as an elite player Watson was quick to respond. "No I am lucky enough to have two Green Jackets but I am just trying to keep my tour card every year. If people say I am a good player then that’s great but I am not trying to play golf for a living or for everybody to tell me how great I am.
“I am playing because I love the game and I want to grow it. The game has brought me everything I have owned in my life. My parent have taught me values through the game. I have grown much closer to my parents because of this game, I have travelled the world and have lot of friends because of golf.”
Watson’s un-coached natural brilliance makes him unique in the modern day where coaches and entourages are very much part of the professional golf tour.
The Masters and the manner in which Augusta National is set up has become the domain of the golfing artist. While the very much manufactured swing of three time winner, Nick Faldo, might not necessarily fit into that category, Seve Ballesteros, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and now Watson over the past thirty or so years have further promoted the theory that imagination is nearly as great an asset at this great layout as a great golf game.
The absence of thick, long, rough creates the opportunity for those with the mind and ability to recover from anywhere to be major factors and it is that creativity, along with all of its other attributes, that make the Masters the much watch sporting spectacle it has become.
Two ’fifty somethings’ finished inside the top ten both Miguel Angel Jimenez (4th) and Bernhard Langer (8th), the two time Masters Champion Langer now 56 years old, belying their age with simply stunning performances. Langer produced a final round of 69 despite two double bogeys over his closing nine holes.
John Senden recorded his second best finish in a major championship when he tied for 8th to be the leading Australian.
Adam Scott was 14th, Jason Day 21st and Oliver Goss had a memorable week having turned 20 on Saturday when he claimed leading amateur honours.
Goss finished in 49th position and was the only amateur to make the cut throwing out signals for his future in the game.
But the honours well and truly lie with the winner whose great power, creative artistry, deft touch and unbridled free flowing emotions, make him one of the most intriguing players the game has seen in many years.