Before play at The Masters began today, the talk was of how players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, and Fred Couples could take home the coveted green jacket at Augusta National today. Some, like Woods, would have to play a nigh perfect round and others, like Mickelson and Couples, needed only to play steady, solid golf to take home golf’s biggest prize. In the end, though, all the favorites faded. Phil Mickelson melted down early in the final round. Tiger Woods tied his worst round of golf, ever. Couples and Westwood faded back into the pack. What was left were two golfers whose names you had probably never heard and some of the most exciting golf you will ever see.
Bubba Watson, who began the day three shots off the lead, brought a series of booming drives that shortened the long holes and a bit of swagger. Louis Oosthuizen, who started one stroke up on Watson, brought a historic 250-yard double-eagle on the second hole of the day that put him in the lead and kept the heat on Watson.
Still, both men lagged behind Mickelson, who gave up the lead on the fourth hole with a performance that could have been made by Happy Gilmore on his worst day. After that, it was pretty much Watson and Oosthuizen who battled each other all the way to the 18th hole and beyond.
The final round went to the second playoff hole before Bubba Watson, who required a near-miracle shot, won The Masters and earned his first green jacket. That’s not to say that Oosthuizen didn’t have his own miracle shot either. He hit a 250-yard double eagle on the second hole to go one shot up on Watson and, well, it was on after that.
Here’s a bit of Twitter reaction to Watson’s hard-fought win.
Who woulda thought a snap hook from the pine straw would upstage a double eagle. Great win Bubba Watson #Masters
— matto (@_shane_m) April 8, 2012
Bubba Watson, the only guy that can strike a ball that overshadows a double eagle.
— Justin Mitchell (@J_Mitch2197) April 8, 2012
— Collin Packer (@collinpacker) April 8, 2012
It only took 76 #Masters tournaments to get a champion named Bubba.
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) April 8, 2012
Inspired by Bubba, I'm vowing to never take another golf lesson. Wait. Hang on. That's right. I rarely crack 85. Anyways, congrats Bubba!
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) April 8, 2012
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Watson, by the way, has a terrific story. Here it is, in a nutshell, from Elizabeth Crum.
Bubba Watson was self-taught as a kid & a first generation golfer. His father, Gerry Watson, now deceased, was a Green Beret & Vietnam vet.
— E!! (@elizthompsn) April 8, 2012
Oh, remember those miracle golf shots? Well here you go. No telling how long they’ll stay up, so jump on them quickly and be amazed.
This is Oosthuizen’s double eagle.
And this is Watson’s incredible playoff hole shot on ten.
Did Twitter like that shot? Oh, it really did.
NICE SHOT BUBBA!!
— Aaron Gardner (@Aaron_RS) April 8, 2012
— Lady Patriot (@Lady_Patriot) April 8, 2012
WOW! Watson has an amazing shot onto the green from a horrible lie. #masters
— Stephen Taylor (@stephen_taylor) April 8, 2012
O-M-G shot Bubba. #masters2012
— MichelleInCal (@MichelleInCAL) April 8, 2012
What a shot by Bubba. #masters
— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) April 8, 2012
Holy crap…how did Bubba make that shot? #masters
— Eric H. (@ericinva) April 8, 2012
Sick, sick shot by Bubba. #Masters2012
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) April 8, 2012
— Justin Ready (@JustinReady) April 8, 2012
What a shot!!! Bubba! #masters
— Nels (@debitking) April 8, 2012
THAT SHOT. WOW! #Bubba WOW!
— Shaun McDonnell (@McShauno) April 8, 2012
Hooking that wedge out of the woods will go down as one of the great shots in Master's history.
— Neal Boortz (@Talkmaster) April 8, 2012
Finally, here is the winner, in his green jacket (Watson’s on the left).
— Andrew Pettett (@AndrewPettett) April 8, 2012