The playoff came because of Oosthuizen’s gutsy two-putt par at 18. On the first extra hole, Oosthuizen stroked a 20-foot birdie putt that looked dead center. “I thought it was in,” he said. Yet it stayed a hair right. Watson then had 10 feet to win the Masters. It rolled left.
Time for Bubba Golf. Watson grew up in the Florida panhandle town of Bagdad, and he routinely used plastic clubs to flail at balls around his house. One way, he would shape them right-to-left. The other way, he’d shape them left-to-right. Thus was born the phrase he first told his caddie, Ted Scott, six years ago. “If I have a swing, I’ve got a shot.” Walking to the errant drive, Scott repeated that to Watson.
There were, though, other forces at work. Watson and his wife Angie had worked four years to adopt a baby. Three weeks earlier, after a slew of rejections, they were granted a son. Even before the Masters began, Watson could scarcely talk about young Caleb without breaking down. Angie, a fixture with her husband on tour, remained in Florida this week, the family apart.
So when Watson pulled off his shot — “It looked like a curveball,” Oosthuizen said, and it settled maybe 15 feet short of the hole — Angie and Caleb were in his thoughts. When Oosthuizen sent his chip over the back of the green, then missed his par putt, they were in his thoughts.
And when he tapped in for his par, the par that gave him the Masters, he sobbed immediately, and hard. Maybe some day, Bubba Watson will be able to teach his son that where others see peril, some can find opportunity. That’s what dad did, and it made him the 2012 Masters champion.