Bubba Watson Wins the Masters 2012: The Feel-Good Story of the Year
Lefty won the Masters! Well, a lefty.
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Bubba Watson shot 68 on Sunday to capture his first major at the Masters 2012, and all seems right with the golf world. On a leaderboard full of past major champions and huge golf stars, Watson winning his first green jacket in a two-hole playoff over Louis Oosthuizen could be the best possible outcome for the sport.
In fact, Watson winning the Masters could be the feel-good story of the year.
Sure, it's only April, and Watson's win at Augusta doesn't come with the cache of, say, Linsanity, but there couldn't have been a more deserving champion to win the biggest tournament of the year.
Following his two-putt victory at the 10th hole on Sunday, Watson broke down and cried, first in the arms of his caddy, then in the arms of his mother. Watson's wife wasn't in attendance this week, staying home to care for the couple's adopted newborn son.
The devoutly religious Watson—who once trash-talked me on Twitter that he could beat me—won his first major on Easter, wearing all white for the second year in a row at Augusta. His dynamic pink driver, used each week on the PGA Tour to help raise money for the fight against cancer, seemed flawless until he got to the second playoff hole, when he smashed a ball so far down the right side, he only needed a wedge to get to the green.
The problem, of course, was the pine straw floor and host of trees in his way.
Watson managed to come up with the shot of his life, a spinning snap-hook wedge that landed within 15 feet of the cup, enabling him to two-putt to bring home the green jacket.
Four hours earlier, it felt like Watson wasn't even a factor. He started the day three back and quickly found himself four back of his playing partner Oosthuizen after the South African hit one of the greatest shots in the history of golf with his double-eagle on the second hole.
Watson stayed close on the first nine, but bogeyed 12 to fall two back, before rebounding with birdies on 13 and 14 before finally getting a share of the lead with a birdie on the par-three 16th. Both Watson and Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, had putts to win on 18 and again on the first playoff hole, but neither could get the ball to fall.
When Watson's drive on the second playoff hole landed deep in the pine needles, it looked like his Masters chances were lost.
To call his second shot a miracle wouldn't be giving the self-taught superstar enough credit. That shot was vintage Watson. The entire week, really, was vintage Watson. It could not come at a better time for him, or golf.
Phil Mickelson was right there again, finishing in the top three for the eighth time in his career. Mickelson could have taken home a fourth green jacket if not for a few missed putts and an unbelievably unfortunate bounce off the railing of the grandstand on the fourth hole that led him to card triple bogey, his only blemish on the day.
Phil just couldn't hit the shots we've known him to hit down the stretch, making way for a new lefty to take the spotlight at Augusta.
This marks the fifth time in the last 10 years that a lefty has won the Masters (something we here at Wide Left are quite pleased about), and it signifies the culmination of years for Watson to finally reach the pinnacle of golf.
We have a tendency to overstate the importance of winning a major for a player's career, but there is no overstating the fact that Watson is already one of the best, most dynamic, most well-respected players on tour.
Winning the Masters is a validation for him.
This victory not only changes his career, but as Nick Tarnowski pointed out on the show (which you can listen to above), it gives the rest of us hope that one day, maybe we can mash the ball far enough on natural talent and no formal training. That we can win a green jacket.
As Jim Nantz said during the telecast, Watson is "The Natural." He is the Everyman. He is…just one of us.
Yeah, right. Like any of us could mash the ball or spin a wedge like him.
Going into the Masters, there was talk that this year was set up to be the best tournament in recent history. History will tell us how the 2012 Masters stacks up against the previous 75 incarnations.
As for this year, for this week, there is no better story than Watson winning the Masters.
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