The Pink Driver vs The Albatross

For a brief moment, golf took over the spotlight. We stopped talking about Carmelo Anthony’s big game against Chicago, forgot whatever work may have been on the schedule for the day, and got a chance to appreciate a great Easter full of double eagles and unreal hooks. The Masters at Augusta did not disappoint.

After 72 holes of the Masters, we got to see a sudden death playoff for the elusive green jacket. No, it wasn’t pre-tournament favorites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy (both tied at 5-over 293 for the Masters, placing them tied at 40th — the worst finish for Woods in the Masters as a pro), but instead, the final day belonged to a guy named Bubba and a Louis with a very difficult last name.

Whoever came up with the name ‘albatross’ could have done better, I think.

Watson and Oosthuizen both finished at 10-under 278, with Watson closing with 68 and Oosthuizen with 69. Bubba saved par from the pine straw and won the Masters on the second hole of a playoff over Oosthuizen. Trapped among the trees 155 yards from the hole and not able to see the green, the left-hander hit a huge hook and landed the ball safely on the 10th green. He two-putted for par and because Oosthuizen had some trouble from the front of the green, Watson had captured his first major.

“This day means so much more than putting on this green jacket in many ways,” he said. “Somehow it fell into my hands. It’s a blur. The last nine holes I don’t remember anything.” – Bubba Watson

On Bubba Watson’s first playoff hole, Jim Nantz brought up how “every boy who grew up playing the game” dreamt of having “one putt to win the Masters.” That, right there, summed up the whole day and weekend for a sports fan like me- the game allowing for these defining moments.  Every sports fan can relate to the difficulty of performing under pressure, but more importantly, having the opportunity to break from the norm. We tend to go through life in a very rigid manner, following a routine day after day, and at times, feel like drones. Sports lets us break through that. Sports needs no scripts, the action sells itself and this weekend of golf was just that.

I’m still amazed at Bubba’s shot in the playoff to win.  I didn’t think that a shot from the woods would have ended up like that.  Bubba’s shot out of the deep woods was not a golf shot. It was more like magic or voodoo, something conjured up by someone with the command of unknown elements. But no, not a golf shot. I refuse to believe it, but I did see it. Bubba seems to be a class act and seeing him react the way he did is a perfect example of what hard work paying off looks like. What sports should be about.  This masters, and the exceptional final act, was one of the best golf tournaments I’ve seen in a long time.

“I’m pretty good at hookin’ it.” – Bubba Watson

TV ratings for Masters won’t be available until later tonight,  but ESPN’s Thursday-Friday average rating of 2.8% of cable/satellite TV households was up 12% from last year. Note- That’s with CBS not having a Tiger Woods push to hang its hat on.

In my opinion, Bubba’s victory could lead to a boom in golf’s popularity to the general public. People like a good story; he toughed it out and made the incredible shots when they counted. I do feel bad for Oosthuizen, who played good golf all day long. He made at least 4 tough, clutch putts to save par; however, his chipping let him down, and he had a few errant swings. That’s what golf is about, the fierce competition.

The game that ruled Sunday.