Most observers thought that a left-hander would win the 2012 Masters. They were correct in that but again, most thought that it would be thee-time champion Phil Michelson that walked away with another Green Jacket. However, it was Bubba Watson that claimed his first Masters title in scintillating fashion, defeating Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole.
It was an exciting day of golf at Augusta National and it began when Oosthuizen came to the second hole. Striking his second shot from the fairway, Oosthuizen's 4-iron from approximately 235 yards found the green and began tracking toward the hole. When it found the cup, Oosthuizen had an albatross on the par-5 second hole. It was the first on the second hole in Masters history and only the fourth on any hole in tournament history. The double eagle vaulted Oosthuizen into the lead. If you make an eagle at Augusta National you receive a pair of crystal goblets. Knowing this, my wife asked me what players receive for making a double eagle. I have no idea, but since they are so rare, they should give them a membership.
From there the story continued to be Louis Oosthuizen. He played very solidly and it seemed that he made every putt that he had to make. As players struggled around him, Oosthuizen maintained his lead.
Then on the back nine, Bubba Watson stepped onto the stage. He was even par for the day through 12. Then Watson ran off a string of four birdies in a row to tie Oosthuizen. The pressure began to build at 17 when Watson and Oosthuizen both hit terrible tee shots. The fact that they were the co-leaders probably had nothing to do with it. Both managed to salvage par and after pars at the 18th, Watson and Oosthuizen went to a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, the 18th, both players had a reasonable look at birdie. I was certain that Oosthuizen would make his birdie putt. However, it just missed to the right of the hole. Watson stepped up for his putt and I was not sure that he would make it. The ball missed on the left side of the hole and the playoff moved to number 10.
The earlier scene from 17 was repeated on the second playoff hole as both players struck terrible drives. However, Oosthuizen's tee shot turned out to be okay. It was his second shot that was poor, coming up short of the green. Bubba Watson hooked a short iron from deep in the woods to just a few feet from the pin. It was incredible. He would later say he hooked it about 40 yards. Incredible. After Oosthuizen missed another par putt, by the narrowest of margins, Watson two-putted for the win.
Watson is an emotional player so you can imagine how poignant a moment it was for Bubba on the green at number 10. There were plenty of hugs, and not a few tears, as Watson embraced his caddie, his mother and several of his fellow competitors on tour. Congratulations to Bubba Watson, 2012 Masters champion. Well deserved and well played.
Dwight is an avid golfer. While still relatively new to the game, he plays as often as the weather and his schedule will allow.
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Bubba Watson