Bubba Watson held up his hand, gesturing for the crowd to hold the applause on the 10th green in the sudden death playoff. He had a tap-in for par and the win, but well, as we learned last week, it’s not over until the final putt drops in the cup. The big-hitting lefty cautiously and gently stroked it in and then the celebration and the tears commenced.
Bubba beat Louis Oosthuizen, the winner of the 2010 Open Championship, on the second extra hole, after the South African couldn’t convert for par, to capture his first major championship. I have to say I’m impressed — I didn’t think Bubba, who admittedly has trouble holding his focus, could keep his nerve for 72 holes, let alone 74.
Bubba and Louis also happened to be paired together in the penultimate group on Sunday — which created some compelling theater at Augusta National coming down the stretch. Bubba hit errant tee shots into the woods on No. 17 in regulation and No. 10 in the playoff. The door was open for Louis, but he followed suit and hit almost equally off-line drives.
When it mattered, Bubba pulled off a shot for the ages from the woods on the infamous 10th hole. You know, the kind that wins you major championships. It was Phil-esque.
I found the perfect place to watch the action. I was gathering quotes and ambushing a few players as they went into the locker room. Well, there’s a sitting room next to it with a TV and camped out there for the afternoon. It just so happened Team Louis — his wife, daughters, mother and manager — had done the same thing. Eventually, defending champ and best friend Charl Schwartzel was took a seat. So did his Green Jacket, which was neatly laying atop an armchair. Bubba Watson’s agent Jens Beck was here, too.
More details on the atmosphere and my account of the thrilling afternoon, but first, I’ve gotta finish my SI assignments/duties. Funny thing is I watched the last 3.5-4 hours in regulation with the Oosthuizen family, while unknowingly, Brendan, WUP’s special contributor this week, caught the playoff.
Let’s get your reactions to Bubba’s victory, Louis’ albatross and stellar game from tee-to-green, Phil’s triple-bogey (it only takes one swing…and I think Phil used up all his good breaks on Thursday and Saturday), Peter Hanson’s forgettable round, Rory McIlroy’s blowup weekend and Bo Van Pelt’s early 64, which included an ace on No. 16. Adam Scott made a hole-in-one there, as well.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)