Masters 2012: Bubba Watson's Faith Goes Beyond Miracle Shot for Easter Victory
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As the Masters 2012 Champion and a doting new father of only two weeks, Bubba Watson could not have planned the most consequential fortnight of his life any more perfectly if he had called upon divine intervention.
As his friend Tim Tebow's Easter Sermon roused an estimated crowd of 15,000 Christians at Celebration Church, an evangelical mega-church in Georgetown, Texas, on Easter Sunday, Bubba Watson celebrated the early part of the holiday in relative quiet in Augusta, Georgia.
Of course, Bubba Watson's crowd would prove to be much larger and presumably louder than Tim Tebow's audience later that afternoon at Augusta National as the big-hitting lefty took to the stage for the final round of the Masters 2012 golf tournament in a quest to win the green jacket and the first Major title of his career.
Teeing off at 2:30pm with Louis Oosthuizen in the next-to-last Sunday pairing, Bubba Watson began the day at minus-six, three shots behind the leaders.
Oosthuizen began the day at seven-below while co-leaders Peter Hanson and Phil Mickelson, everyone's favorite to win his fourth green jacket, entered the final round at nine shots under par.
Bubba's Back Story
To most casual golf fans, Bubba Watson is known as the guy who hits the ball a really long way—perhaps longer than anyone else on the PGA Tour—with a pink Ping driver he carries for charity and who gets really choked up whenever he wins a PGA tournament.
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What those who follow his career a bit closer know and will remember from his emotional victories at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in 2011, Watson is deeply faithful family man who lost his father to throat cancer in 2010.
And as most golf fans of varying degrees—including normally non-interested spouses and family members—learned while watching Masters 2012 final-round coverage during Easter gatherings on Sunday, Watson and his wife, Angie, who is unable to conceive, became the new parents to a one-month-old adopted baby boy, Caleb Watson, just two weeks before the Masters 2012 tournament.
Angie, a former college and professional basketball player, told Watson on their first date that if their relationship worked out and they were to ever have children together, they would have to adopt.
Evidently, Bubba was undeterred by Angie's revelation and the couple persisted for more than four years before finally bringing home their adopted son, Caleb.
Oh, and like Tim Tebow, Bubba Watson is a devout evangelical Christian who wears his heart and his faith on his sleeve, albeit not quite as loudly or on as public a stage as the Denver Broncos' former quarterback.
An Amazing Stretch of Golf
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Bubba Watson's final round of the 2012 Masters got off to an auspicious start as he bogeyed the first hole while his playing partner, Louis Oosthuizen, recorded the first ever double-eagle, or albatross, on the par-five second hole in spectacular fashion from 260-yards away.
Watson went out in 35 shots, making the turn two strokes behind his playing partner at minus-seven, and he recorded his last bogey of the tournament on the 12th hole before rallying for four consecutive birdies on Holes 13, 14, 15 and 16.
Thanks to an early triple-bogey by Phil Mickelson and an overall rough day for the Swede, Peter Hanson (1-over, 73), Watson found himself atop the leaderboard alongside Oosthuizen at the conclusion of 72 holes after scoring pars on the course's final two holes.
After finishing the Masters' regulation 72 holes at a stalemate, Watson and Oosthuizen began their sudden-death playoff on the eighteenth hole.
Bubba and Louis scored matching pars on the first playoff hole before proceeding to the tenth tee box where Watson hit his driver deep into the woods, right of the fairway.
Oosthuizen, playing second, decided to play it safe with a 3-wood off the tee, but his shot found a bit of trouble, as well.
What followed has already become a piece of history and golfing lore to be replayed and remembered for the next fifty years.
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With his ball resting on pine straw and no clear path to the green, which lay more than 190-yards away, Watson crowded the ball with his pitching wedge, closed the club face severely at address, and literally pulled off the intentional hook of the century.
Hitting a shot which few players, even on the PGA Tour, could execute in a hundred tries, Watson drew the ball so profoundly that it landed on the green and spun sideways past the hole like a professional billiards player's cue ball.
Watson, who told CBS' Jim Nantz during the for-TV green jacket presentation that he is "pretty good at hooking the ball," easily two-putted for par and the victory as Oosthuizen scored a bogey on the final playoff hole.
Humble in Victory
After his second-hole playoff victory, Watson broke down in the arms of his mother and several of his close PGA friends who watched the finale greenside, including "Golf Boys" pals, Rickie Fowler and Ben Crane.
Watson was also sure to thank "Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior," not for the victory, per se, but presumably for all the blessings in his life, following his first Major title and his new son, Caleb Watson.
One look at Watson's twitter account, @bubbawatson, says it all as he lists in his Bio, "Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer. Owner of General Lee 1."
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When Watson tweeted scripture from the New Testament's Thessalonians 5 after his victory, he was giving thanks for all the blessings and occurrences in his life, including the highs and the lows.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." — @bubbawatson
And on Easter Sunday, golf fans and casual observers fortunate enough to watch the final two hours of the Masters were able to witness one of the great moments in the life of a professional golfer who seems to have his priorities in check and in line.
However, with everything taking place in his life now at break-neck speed, Watson needs to keep his golf game in good shape for at least another week since, according to a tweet from Tim Tebow, the two will be celebrating together at Tebow's golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass next Saturday.
Those lefties have to stick together.
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