Second Masters win a lot less stressful for Bubba Watson
Tears at Augusta again, but there the similarities with 2012 end as American eases past Jordan Spieth
There were tears from Bubba Watson two years ago when he won his first Masters and there were tears again on Sunday when he won for the second time.
But that is where the similarities end.
In 2012, the loose-limbed lefty was taken all the way to a playoff by Louis Oosthuizen before he carved a wonder shot out of the woods at the 10th on the second extra hole to win his first major.
This time around, he was three strokes clear emerging from the 13th at the end of Amen Corner and he still held that lead when he teed off at the 18th.
A perfect four-wood down the middle and a good approach onto the green and it was in the bag.
Asked which of his two wins he enjoyed the most, the 35-year-old Watson replied: “I feel a lot better [this time].
“The shot out of the woods made me famous, but this one was a lot better for me and my nerves, my family, probably on caddie Teddy [Scott].
“I know when Jordan [Spieth] missed on the last hole, and Teddy was helping me read – I said, ‘Read the putt, just help me.’
“When he missed and he was tapping in, I went over to him [Scott] and I said, “I’m not very good at math, but we’ve got four putts, right?”
“I said, ‘All right. It’s a lot better for my nerves this way.’ ”
To all intents and purposes Sunday’s Masters finale boiled down to a matchplay faceoff between Watson and 20-year-old Spieth, the two men having shared the overnight lead at five under.
Matt Kuchar briefly joined them but fell away after four-putting the fourth and Swedish rookie Jonas Blixt never got close enough to apply any real pressure on the two leaders.
It could have gone either way, but a four-shot swing at the eighth and ninth, both of which Watson birdied and Spieth bogeyed, proved to be decisive to the outcome.
“Eight was a big swing,” Watson said. “I think he three-putted eight and nine and I birdied them both. It changed the momentum right there.
“And then I was just trying to hang on. I knew I had a couple of shots to play with. I knew 13 and 15 [par-fives] were still reachable for me, even though I didn’t play them the best I wanted to.
“I knew once the momentum switched it was a little bit in my favor. If you have the lead you always have a little advantage on everybody.”
The win caps a great return to form this year for the emotional Watson, who put golf on the back-burner following his first triumph in 2012 to spend more time with wife Angie and newly-adopted son Caleb.
Unlike in 2012, they were both greenside on Sunday to watch his second coronation and take part in the celebrations.
Next up for Watson will be the US Open in June and the British Open the following month as he tries to add to his haul of majors, and then the Ryder Cup in Scotland in late September.
Told that after watching him win on Sunday, US Ryder Cup skipper Tom Watson had Tweeted: “See you on the plane for Gleneagles”, Watson said that it would be “an amazing feeling to have a chance to go to Scotland, the Home of Golf, St Andrews.
“I’d like to win one. I haven’t won a Ryder Cup yet, so that’s the next big tournament I’d like to win.”
Other than that, Watson said that he was not mindful of how people viewed him or how they thought he ranked up against the greats of the game.
It was all about getting back to basics and enjoying what he was doing out on the golf course.
“If people say that I’m a good player, that’s great. But I’m not trying to play golf for a living,” he said.
“I’m not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I’m one of the greats of the game.
“I play golf because I love it, I love the game, I want to grow the game. The game has brought me everything that I’ve ever owned in my life.”