Thursday, April 17, 2014
AUGUSTA — Bubba Watson is starting a collection of green jackets.
Watson, winner of two of the past three Masters Tournaments, came away with his second green jacket behind an 8-under tournament performance, including a 3-under 69 on Sunday.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “To get the first one, it was a dream come true. To get the second one, it’s icing on the cake. I never expect to make it again this far. To make the PGA Tour was a blessing, and now six wins, two green jackets, it’s pretty remarkable. You know what I’m telling you? I can’t really put it into words.”
The former Georgia Bulldog seemed at ease on the course, showing very little emotion until a big fist-pump after finishing the 17th. Going into the 18th, where Watson knew his family would be, he maintained his composure until the par putt rolled in.
“You know, it’s funny, I knew going up there I hit a good shot, the crowd was roaring,” he said of the spectators around the 18th green. “I knew it was pretty close where I could probably win. And the last thing I wanted to do was look at the back of the green, because I figured they were there, because I would have broke down. ... For them to be there, for her family to be there, for my son to be there, ... it’s an amazing feeling.”
After making the turn to the back-nine, Watson overpowered 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and was able to cruise to victory.
“I hit two good shots on 8,” Watson said. “I think making the birdie putt on 6, because (Spieth) just knocked it stiff, getting the birdie putt on 6 to tie him was big. ... Eight was a big swing. ... I knew, once the momentum switched, it was a little bit in my favor. If you have the lead, you always have a little advantage on everybody.”
Watson shared the 54-hole lead with Spieth, who contended for a green jacket in his first Masters.
Spieth finished the day shooting even par and ended the tournament in a tie for second place.
“I’m very, very pleased, no doubt,” he said of his first Masters experience. “It stings right now, and the only thing I’m thinking about is when am I getting back next year. ... But, ultimately, I’m very happy with the week, happy with the way my game is at going forward for this year, and I’ve accomplished one of my goals this year, which is to get in contention in a major and see how I can do. You know, hopefully, going forward, I can do that again. There’s still three more this year.”
Spieth, who had a great start to his round on Sunday and carried a tournament lead for a few holes, used his first trip to Augusta as an introduction to the golf world and as experience going forward.
“Went over to the first tee and got off to kind of a dream start for Sunday at Augusta,” he said. “But Bubba Watson is a deserving Masters Champion this year, and that was some incredible golf he played down the stretch to hold it together and make his pars.”
The 2013 Masters champion, Adam Scott of Australia, played the week with the pressure of defending his green jacket, something Watson said bothered him last year. Scott finished the tournament 1-over in a tie for 14th place.
“Well, I’ve enjoyed the week thoroughly,” Scott said. “I mean, it’s been a week I’ll never forget, the experiences I’ve had in playing a tournament as the defending champion and as a champion, and all the ovations that you receive around here is amazing memories for me.”
For his efforts, Watson will receive a purse of $1,620,000, along with the green jacket, gold medal and a replica of the Masters trophy.
The next PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage, will be held April 17-20 at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.
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