Congratulations Bubba

In class last week, college student everywhere heard hushed golf claps or an isolated “GET IN THE HOLE!” chant echoing around their classroom.  This was, of course, a sign that eyes were glued to computer screens as The Masters were in full swing at Augusta National.  The most fabled golf tournament at the nation’s most prestigious course drew enormous crowds and welcomed the world’s best golfers as they vied for the much sought after Green Jacket.

Many golfers made their run at the title throughout the weekend, but by Sunday’s end it was down to a sudden death playoff between South African Louis Oosthuizen and American Bubba Watson.  After a couple of missed puts for the title on the first playoff hole, both players watched their errant drives on the Par-4 10th fall wide of the fairway, Watson’s almost impossibly trapped by suffocating forestry.  Most golfers would have had to lay up before an approach shot, but Watson is not most golfers.  His hair makes him appear more caddy than player.  He uses a hot pink driver, yet blasts the ball farther than almost anyone else on Tour.  His swing is anything but conventional, and for good reason.  He’s never taken a lesson or analyzed his own swing on tape.  He’s as much goof, as he is golfer, starring in the now famous music video with his PGA Tour based boy band, Golf Boys.  And of course, he’s a lefty, which made his attempt at a massive hook from the right hand side even remotely thinkable.

While Oosthuizen played his second shot short, the crowd knew Watson was going for it big time.  Bubba’s ball cleared the trees, then hooked and hooked some more, landing softly on the green and rolling up close to the pin.  But this was nothing new; Watson’s mantra all week was, “If I’ve got a swing, I’ve got a shot”.  Throughout the weekend, Watson was fueled by bold calls and highlight reel plays.  And he cashed in on his adventurous play, tapping in for par and his first ever Major Championship.  To a thundering chorus of applause, the 6’3’’ jolly golf giant, the everyman’s golfer, could do nothing but break down and cry.  After losing his father two years ago, and adopting a baby boy, Caleb, two weeks ago, the fan favorite has certainly had his share of ups and downs.  But in his championship speech?  Watson focused on getting back to work, and showed equal parts excitement and apprehension about changing his son’s diapers, a scary prospect for any new father.  Bubba Watson is an excellent golf player, but he’s going to make an even better dad.

For a look at all of the Masters action, check out the website


–Mike Haughey