In almost every Masters it's the back nine that provides the fireworks. It's where the par-5s either make or break a chance at a green jacket, and the 12th looms for any player that doesn't hit an absolutely precise golf shot.
This Sunday was different. It was the front nine where everything happened. It was where Jordan Spieth took command of the Masters in an attempt to be the youngest winner ever at Augusta National. It was where Fred Couples made early birdies as he started the day four shots back, the same deficit that Jack Nicklaus faced in 1986 before he won his sixth green jacket.
And the front nine was where Bubba Watson showed that he was going to be in command of this golf tournament no matter what Spieth threw at him.
Bubba curled in a birdie putt on No. 6, and was able to get it up and down for birdie on the par-5 8th. It was the birdie on the ninth that really separated Bubba, and from there he simply cruised to a three-shot victory.
The second win at Augusta puts Bubba in some elite class, and it shows that with his power and ability to move the golf ball, he will be a factor at the Masters for years to come.
The two themes coming from the 2014 Masters will be Bubba's second green jacket and how tough this 20-year-old really is.
Spieth didn't have his best stuff on Sunday, but he still posted an even-par round of 72 that was good enough for a T-2. It wasn't exactly what Spieth wanted when he teed it up on Sunday afternoon, but it will be an experience he can lean back on the next time he's in contention at a major championship, which will most likely be sooner than later.
Of all the players chasing Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth, it seemed that someone like Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar or Rickie Fowler could put the heat on that final group.
All three of those names failed to do so, shooting over-par final rounds that allowed Bubba a smooth walk home to a second green jacket.
You could make a case for the par-5 8th hole, or even the famous 12th, when Jordan Spieth splashed his tee shot, but the real change in momentum came on the par-4 9th.
Spieth caught the slope and was faced with a tough up-and-down, and after hitting a solid pitch up the hill, it was Bubba who dropped his birdie putt only to see Spieth miss his par save.
That seemed to be where things changed, and from then on out it was Bubba's tournament to lose.
"Walking up 18 was a little bit easier this time." — Bubba Watson, in Butler Cabin
The shot we will remember from Sunday didn't even come from the champion. That was off the wedge of Jordan Spieth, when he holed this bunker shot on the par-3 4th hole when it looked like Bubba would definitely make birdie.
The bunker shot was the highlight from a Sunday that didn't have a lot of heroic shots on the back nine, and it will be the shot that we look back on when we're recapping the 2014 Masters, even if Spieth didn't go on to win.
Just because the Masters is over doesn't mean golf goes into hibernation.
The Players Championship is in less than a month, and the U.S. Open kicks off on June 12, so stick around and keep up with all the names making noise as we make our way to Pinehurst.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bubba Watson
- Jordan Spieth