Sports

Bubba's own miracle on playoff hole tops a double eagle

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The rarest shot in golf can happen any time Bubba Watson has a golf club in hands.

Watson was so deep in the woods late Sunday afternoon that he couldn't even see where he was going. With his golf ball nestled on a bed of pine straw, he hit a gap wedge that shot out toward the fairway and hooked some 40 yards and onto the elevated green.

Nothing less than the Masters was riding on the outcome. Nothing else would do except for a page right out of "Bubba golf."

And on a thrill-a-minute Sunday at Augusta National, where Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa made only the fourth double eagle in the 76-year history of this major, it made Watson a Masters champion.

"I've never had a dream go this far, so I can't really say it's a dream come true," Watson said. "I don't even know what happened on the back nine. ... Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff. I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head, and somehow I'm here talking to you with a green jacket on."

His amazing shot in the playoff settled 10 feet from the hole, setting up a simple par for the win.

Lost in all the commotion was Oosthuizen making what is commonly called the rarest shot in golf -- an albatross -- when his 4-iron from 253 yards on the par-5 second hole landed on the front of the green, took the slope and rolled some 90 feet into the cup for a 2.

Oosthuizen had never made a double eagle.

His Masters ended by watching a shot he didn't know existed.

After hitting short of the 10th green in the playoff, he was in the fairway and could only see a trail of fans leading into the woods.

"I had no idea where he [Watson] was," Oosthuizen said. "Where I stood from, when the ball came out, it looked like a curve ball. Unbelievable shot. That shot he hit definitely won him the tournament."

Watson, who made four consecutive birdies on the back nine and closed with a 4-under 68, made it all sound so simple. Maybe it's because he has hit so many shots like that before. Maybe it's because he is one of the few players who doesn't have a swing coach, and never has.

"Hooked it about 40 yards, hit about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and then started rising," Watson said. "Pretty easy."

The hard part was holding back tears.

He was blubbering hard on the 10th green, shoulders heaving and face contorted, for so many reasons. Just two weeks ago, he and his wife adopted a baby boy, Caleb. The first person on the green was his mother -- his father died right after the Ryder Cup in 2010. He held her tight and cried some more.

Gerry "Bubba" Watson, Jr., the powerful lefty with a million shots, was a major champion.

"I never got this far in my dreams," Watson said in Butler cabin, where 2011 champ Charl Schwartzel helped him into the green jacket. "It's a blessing. To go home to my new son, it's going to be fun."

Oosthuizen was trying to join Gene Sarazen in the 1935 Masters as the only major champions to win with a double eagle in the final round. The former British Open champion made one clutch putt after another on the back nine, none more important than a 4-footer on the 18th for a 69 to force the playoff.

He and Watson finished at 10-under 278, two shots ahead of four players -- Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Lee Westwood and third-round leader Peter Hanson of Sweden -- who helped make the Masters as compelling as ever.

But in the end, it was Watson's game.

"I attack. I always attack," Watson said. "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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