AUGUSTA, Ga. — Trapped in the trees, Bubba Watson had no chance. Good thing he’s one of those guys who never hits the ball straight.
Unable to even see the green from where he was standing, Watson curled a shot from out of the pine straw and safely onto the 10th green to win the Masters on the second hole of a playoff Sunday over South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen.
Watson won his first major and sobbed hard, his shoulders heaving, as he embraced his mother on the 10th green. He won by hitting a most-memorable wedge shot, one that may have trumped the historic double-eagle 2 that Oosthuizen dropped in on the second green to take the lead early in the final round.
Both players finished regulation at 10-under 278. Watson played the second playoff hole in par to win by one shot.
“I was there earlier today, during regulation,” he said. “So I was used to it. I knew what I was facing there. I had a good lie, had a gap where I had to hook it 40 yards or something. I’m pretty good at hooking it.”
And that’s how Gerry (Bubba) Watson, proud new father of adopted baby Caleb, found himself wearing a green jacket.
With his bubble gum-pink driver and his all-white outfit, Watson is one of those guys who stands out and he did, indeed, at Augusta National. After missing a 10-foot putt that would have won it on the 18th green in the first playoff hole, he pushed his tee shot on No. 10 so far right, it was actually behind the gallery.
No punching it out on this day. Instead, he lined it up, curved it in and when Oosthuizen couldn’t get up and down from in front of the green after his own errant drive, Watson simply had to two-putt to capture the title.
He almost made the first one, rolling it a few inches past the hole. As the crowd began cheering, he held out his hand to playfully calm down everyone, then tapped it in.
The tears started flowing immediately.
“He hit an unbelievable shot there,” Oosthuizen said. “I played well. This is not one I felt like I played badly. Great stuff to him. He deserves it.”
Phil Mickelson made a triple-bogey 6 on No. 4 to fall back and wound up in a tie for third at 8 under, along with Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar and Peter Hanson.
Watson was four shots back after Oosthuizen made his albatross but was able to keep a very good eye on the leader since they were playing partners.
The rally began on No. 13, where Watson made a tricky six-foot putt for the first of four straight birdies.
He tied it on No. 16 and after the two made par on 17, Watson had a better look at the win in regulation, just missing a 20-foot putt for birdie.
Both players had good looks at it on the first playoff hole, then both hit poor drives on No. 10 to set up the finish.
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, came up short of the green and pitched past the hole, then barely missed the comebacker that could have pushed the playoff to a third hole.
He might have still been in shock. Watson didn’t appear to have any angle from where he was standing, but he hit the big, sweeping hook to set up the win.
“I had no idea where he was,” Oosthuizen said. “Where I stood from, when ball came out, it looked like a curve ball. Unbelievable shot. I left myself in a really awkward spot with that chip. Just didn’t get the check on it that I thought I would. That shot he hit definitely won him the tournament.”