Bubba takes Masters

Parker Fox, Sports Editor

The Masters embodies what golf is all about.  It’s the first Major Championship of the year and beautiful Augusta National is all but flawless.  At courses across America the occasional club throw or swear is condoned, but not at Augusta National (unless it’s Tiger Woods).  The 2012 Masters featured a playoff after 72 holes between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen.  Watson prevailed in the second playoff hole after hooking a gap wedge from the woods to about 10 feet and two-putting for his first Major Championship and green jacket.

            “Bubba’s style of play is always so fun to watch,” says senior Brandon Jeffries.  “He always hits the craziest shots.”

            Watson’s play has always been unconventional.  He has a notoriously ugly golf swing which changes completely according to the shot he’s playing.  He has never had a golf lesson and says he is afraid what a top swing coach would tell him.  He hits the biggest cuts, slices, draws, and hooks on tour and can be considered a throwback in today’s game of video-built scientific golf swings.  He moves his feet when he putts.  He crosses the line at the top of his backswing.  He does everything incorrectly but somehow he topped the best in the world on one of the most rigorous tests of golf the world has ever seen. 

            The contrast between Watson and Oosthuizen as they competed in the sudden death playoff was noticeable to the most untrained eye.  Oosthuizen has a classic on-plane swing and pre shot routine while Watson clearly just played by feel.  Where Oosthuizen is thinking about a certain position in the swing, Watson is visualizing a giant hook and making it happen with his hands at impact, regardless of how he got there.

            Although Watson’s win is encouraging to the young players who “go it alone” without coaches or professional advice, it must be noted that a vast majority of the world class players with Major Championships on their resume did exactly the opposite.  They built swings so precise and repeatable that they could hold up under the greatest of pressure, and 99% of the time this approach seems to be the right one.  But for the weekend warriors out there, Watson’s win will provide encouragement after a few triple bogeys at the local municipal course when they can think “If Bubba can do it alone, so can I,:” and save the $50 from getting a golf lesson and only experiencing minor improvement or none at all.

            It’s often said that the Masters begins on Sunday on the back 9.  This year was no exception.  Peter Hanson and Phil Mickelson played together in the final pairing, Hanson’s lack of experience was too much to overcome and Mickelson’s hopes were dashed with a triple bogey on the par 3 fourth.  Playing just in front of them, Oosthuizen made a double eagle when he holed out from the fairway on the par 5 second.  When they made the turn, Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, and Lee Westwood had slipped back into contention.  But ultimately, Watson and Oosthuizen were matching each other shot for shot, leading to their playoff with both players at minus 10.  Oosthuizen was ice cold with his putter as he continued to roll in clutch putts while Watson remained uncharacteristically even keel.  Both players made par on the first playoff hole after steady approach shots.  On the second playoff hole, Watson fanned his tee shot right, causing Oosthuizen to reach for his 3 wood rather than driver.  But Oosthuizen still was unable to find the fairway.  From the rough, Oosthuizen hit his second just short of the green, setting the stage for Watson to hit one of the best shots in tournament history.  Two putts later, he was the Masters Champion.