Self-taught Watson wins Masters again
BUBBA Watson has just won his second Masters in three years, by the comfortable margin of three strokes, and the long-hitting left-handed golfer sounded like he needed to pinch himself to believe it.
"A guy named Bubba from a small town, born in Pensacola, Florida, raised in Bagdad (Florida), it's crazy to think that you've won," he said at the champion's news conference on Sunday. "A small-town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets. It's pretty wild."
The 35-year-old joins the ranks of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros as a winner of a pair of Masters titles.
But Watson, a self-taught player who has never had a coach or taken a lesson, said he did not consider himself an elite golfer, just a man blessed to be able to do what he loves.
"I'm not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I'm one of the greats of the game," he said after carding a three-under 69 for an eight-under 280 total on Sunday. "I play golf because I love it."
His steady putter and prodigious drives - he took fewer putts than all but two players in the field - helped him overcome 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and Sweden's Jonas Blixt.
Watson plays by feel and his unorthodox approach was on full display at the par-five 15th when he held a three-shot lead.
He had hit his slicing tee shot into the pine straw off the left side of the fairway with a stand of trees in his way to the green. Instead of punching out safely, he flew his approach in between an opening in the trees and over the water guarding the green on his way to a par.
"I've always done it my way," said Watson.
Meanwhile, some sports marketers say that Spieth is still a big winner despite coming up short in his attempt to supplant Tiger Woods as the youngest champion in the Masters' 78-year history.
Despite a runner-up finish, companies "will be fighting to sign him", said Mr Bob Dorfman, executive creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco.
Spieth's emergence comes as golf's biggest names are struggling in major tournaments. From an endorsement and marketing perspective, the two-time winner of the United States Amateur championship, who was raised in Dallas, is not flashy, outspoken or controversial, making him attractive to the core golf audience, Mr Dorfman added. "Spieth is exactly what golf needs right now," he said.
For now, though, Spieth is just trying to get over his disappointment after entering the final round tied for the lead but then losing to Watson.
"I'll be back," he said. "It hurts right now. I feel like I'm ready to win. It's just a matter of time."