5 Things: Watson's work on greens leads to jacket
Monday, April 9, 2012
2012 Masters Champion: Bubba Watson
Congratulations Bubba Watson, champion of the 2012 Masters at Augusta National.
Hate to be Rude: Bubba Watson
2012 Masters: Round 4 at Augusta
Check out images from Augusta National as the players compete for the Green Jacket in the final round of the Masters!
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Here are five things you need to know about the conclusion of the 76th Masters, which saw southpaw Bubba Watson outlast Louis Oosthuizen in the second hole of a sudden-death playoff at Augusta National.
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1. NO SURPRISE HERE: Watson might not have been the buzz of Augusta National until late Sunday afternoon, but his victory shouldn't shock anyone.
In seven starts in 2012, Watson hasn't finished outside the top 18. His last two starts - WGC-Cadillac Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational - ended in a runner-up and T-4, respectively. He also finished T-5 at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix.
"Less than two years ago, it seems like, I didn't have a win. Now I've got four," Watson said after his 4-under 68. "My goal, my dream -- my dream has always been to have 10 wins. And you know, this is a step in that right direction. This is what everybody strives to do. No matter how much you want to live your life other ways, this is an honor, a special privilege to put the green jacket on."
He earned that jacket by his work on the par 5s (8 under) and on the par 3s (4 under).
While many of his stats for the week don't scream "major winner," his dedication toward hitting more greens in regulation paid major dividends. He was T-4 in the field with 53 hit, and he had just 120 putts.
"I just play golf," Watson said. "I attack. I always attack. I don't like to go to the center of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot, who doesn't? That's why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot. "
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2. TRIPLE TROUBLE: Phil Mickelson talked earlier this week about managing his game at Augusta National, and knowing when the course will reward a player for taking chances.
On Sunday, Mickelson failed to take his own advice.
Playing the par-3 fourth hole, his tee ball ricocheted off a grandstand into some straw and bushes. He found the ball, but instead of picking up and going back to the tee, he chose to hit the ball ... right-handed. And when the ball didn't advance more than six inches on his first try, he did it again. His second attempt came out hot and hit a patron behind Mickelson. Playing from behind a bunker, Mickelson failed to get his fourth shot up high enough and left it in the bunker. From there, he got up-and-down to save triple-bogey.
Mickelson played the rest of his round in 3 under, and had birdies at Nos. 8, 13 and 15 - all par 5s.
"If it goes into people and stops right there, no problem," he said. "If it goes into the grandstand, no problem," said Mickelson, who fired an even-par 72 despite the triple. "It hit the metal railing and shot in the trees. And not only was it unplayable, but I couldn't take an unplayable. There was no place to go other than back to the tee. So I took the risk of trying to hit it a few times."
So, why not go back to the tee?
"Well, then I got the hardest shot again," said Mickelson, who picked up the fifth third-place finish of his Masters career. "And again, the hardest par. So I'm looking at 5 at best, probably 6. I felt like it was worth the risk and it may have cost me, what, half a shot at most?"
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3. STILL SEARCHING: Lee Westwood sputtered coming out of the gate on Sunday, dropping a shot at the par-4 first hole, getting it back at the second, but then picking up bogey at No. 3 to fall to 3 under and seven shots off Louis Oosthuizen's early lead.
And despite Westwood's late run of birdies at Nos. 13-15 and another at 18, it was the 128 putts on the week that told the story for Westwood. He needed 30 or more in each round.
"The story of the week is you have got to putt well to win the Masters and I haven't putted well," Westwood said after his 4-under 68. "(I) came out and missed a two-footer on the third inexplicably and that is not the kind of thing that will give you confidence for the rest of the round. So I didn't really make that many putts. The longest I made was 10 feet on 18. I made a good one at the right time, but that's not really good enough."
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4. AMATEUR HOUR: The world's top-ranked amateur Patrick Cantlay got some face time with the green jackets on Sunday night, finishing as the top amateur after a final-round 72 left him at 7 over for the tournament. Cantlay carded the even-par round despite a quadruple bogey on No. 13.
Two-time Asian Amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama was the low amateur coming into the day, but an 8-over 80 sent him to a 9-over total.
Defending U.S. Amateur champ Kelly Kraft also shot an 8-over 80 on the eve of turning professional.
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5. FAILURE TO FIRE: The bottom of the leaderboard held an alarming amount of highly-ranked golfers that simply sputtered around Augusta National.
• First, there was Tiger Woods and his 72-75-72-74 week, which tied for his worst 72-hole performance as a professional at the Masters.
• Let's not forget Rory McIlroy and his weekend rounds of 77-76, which dropped him to 5 over and a T-40 finish with Woods.
• World No. 6 Martin Kaymer made the cut for the first time, but that was the highlight of his week. An uninspiring line of 72-75-75-72 sent him to a T-44 finish.
• Steve Stricker was uncharacteristically sloppy with his putter and finished T-47 at 7 over, which included a second-round 77.
• Defending champion Charl Schwartzel definitely didn't have the 2011 magic in his arsenal, posting 72-75-75-74 to finish T-50.