Happy Georgia ending: Bulldog named Bubba wins Masters

Bubba Watson hugs caddie Ted Scott after winning the Masters in a playoff. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Bubba Watson hugs caddie Ted Scott after winning the Masters in a playoff. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

AUGUSTA – The Georgia feel to it all was slow in coming. There might have been a couple of audible, “Go Bubbas” at the first tee, but certainly no barking, no “Go Dogs,” not even a single Bobby Petrino joke.

But as Sunday at the Masters unfolded, it was easy to wonder, “Wait, are those azaleas or hedges?” Which way to Broad Street? Where’s the Varsity? Augusta National seemed to morph into Sanford Stadium. The galleries were covered in Callaway and FootJoy, not Bulldogs football jerseys, but there were two guys who gave an Athens feel to things when one turned to his friend shortly after Bubba Watson teed off and said: “OK, now. We’ve got five hours. I figure it’s about two to three beers an hour.”

Think Uga in a green jacket.

A Bulldog named Bubba just won the Masters. Who knew Georgia-South Africa could stir the emotions like Georgia-Auburn?

VIDEO: Bubba Watson won the 2012 Masters, beating Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole. CineSport’s Brian Clark and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz discuss the dramatic day.

Gerry “Bubba” Watson, who neither looks like a Bubba (thin body, Hollywood hair), dresses like a Bubba (all white, no gravy stains) nor acts like a Bubba (cries “at everything,” by his own admission), won the world’s most famous golf tournament Sunday.

Watson occasionally melted down as a young player. “He was one of those guys who would get nervous down the stretch — he finished second and third a lot,” Georgia golf coach Chris Haack said.

But that was awhile back, Haack said, and Watson certainly didn’t look the part at Augusta. After a bogey on No. 12, the potential start to an unraveling, Watson strung together four consecutive birdies on the back nine to pull even with Louis Oosthuizen, the former British Open champion, at 10 under par. He forced a sudden death playoff. Later, on the second overtime hole, he hit a miraculous second shot off the pine straw that screamed out of the woods and bounced comfortably onto the green on Augusta’s 495-yard par-4.

Then, he finished the drill. Of course.

Watson donned his green jacket. He accepted congratulations from club chairman Billy Payne, another who bleeds red and black and must have resisted yelling, “Sic ‘em!” Then Watson addressed the overwhelming gallery: “First of, all to all my fans, you’ve got to say, ‘Go Dogs.’”

Somehow, Butler Cabin didn’t spontaneously combust.

Watson called the day “a dream.” He called his back nine experience “a blur.” Given the past few weeks, it’s understandable.

A few months ago, Watson paid $110,000 at an auto auction to purchase a 1969 Dodge Charger known as the “General Lee,” the car made famous in the television show the “Dukes of Hazzard.” Watson must have figured at the time that little could top that. We can now imagine him driving that sucker down Magnolia Lane.

But the car wasn’t the reason for Watson’s tears. Two weeks ago, he and his wife, Angie, moved forward in their adoption of a young boy, Caleb. Watson, who teared up and hugged everybody in sight after sinking the winning putt for the tournament – his caddie, Ted Scott; his mother, Molly (he lost his father to cancer two years ago); other golfers, family members; and friends who found their way onto the green – choked up when asked about the win.

He mentioned Angie and Caleb, who were back in a rented home at Isleworth in Florida, waiting for the adoption to be finalized.

“Our first date, Angie told me we would have to adopt because she can’t have kids,” Watson said. “Four years ago we started that process. We got turned down a couple of times. But on Tuesday at Bay Hill, we got the word and on Wednesday we made the decision. I almost pulled out of Bay Hill.”

He stayed and finished fourth. He went far beyond that in the Masters.

It looked like Oosthuizen’s day. On the par-5 second hole, he had fantasy-like, “albatross” – a double-eagle-2 — that launched him into the lead at 10-under. But Watson had a near-miracle himself on the second playoff hole. His first shot went right into the pine straw, to the far right of the fairway. He couldn’t see the pin 164 yards away, so he used the “parted” gallery as his sight line. With a wedge, he then whacked it to within 10 feet of the pin. From there, he safely two-putted for par and the win after Oosthuizen had bogeyed the hole.

As for the shot out of the woods, “Bubba” golf was on full display.

“I had that crazy shot in my head, and here I am in a green jacket,” Watson said. “I play like Seve [Ballesteros], like Phil Mickelson, who goes for it. I always attack. I don’t go for center greens. I want to hit the incredible shot.”

Back in Athens, Haack wasn’t surprised.

“I was watching with Bubba’s [assistant coach] coach Jim Douglas, and when that ball went into the wood, we said right away, ‘Bubba’s got this shot.’ That was right in his wheelhouse.”

Nor was he surprised Watson didn’t crack.

“[Analyst] Nick Faldo was saying Bubba twitches and he has happy feet — well, he’s always been like that,” Haack said. “He was in a playoff at the PGA a few years ago. He was under enormous pressure at the Ryder Cup. He’s in his comfort zone now.”

A perfect Bulldog ending.

Next week is Georgia’s spring football game. Imagine that — a golfer upstaged it.

By Jeff Schultz

248 comments Add your comment

Herschel Talker

April 8th, 2012
9:42 pm

Schultzie:

FIRE FREDI GONZALEZ!!! IT’S TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE!!!

HT

FunkyBobbyJ

April 8th, 2012
9:44 pm

Congrats Bubba from a fellow disc golfer – it was a fun ride all day!!!

Smitty

April 8th, 2012
9:45 pm

HT I am sorry but this is a golf blog you moron

Go Bubba Go!

April 8th, 2012
9:46 pm

Way to go Bubba!!! What a class act he is. What a shot he hit to seal the deal! Another classic finish at the greatest golf venue on earth!

Smitty

April 8th, 2012
9:46 pm

congrats Bubba Nice win for a nice guy

cloudodust

April 8th, 2012
9:50 pm

The common man shall inherit the Green Jacket. Congrats to Bubba Watson

SE GA Fan

April 8th, 2012
9:52 pm

His friends found their way to the 10th green, which was the 2nd hole in the playoff. Eighteen was the first playoff hole. Can’t believe you even sounded decent when talking about a former Dawg.

Lanier Dawg

April 8th, 2012
9:54 pm

Great job Bubba! Way to make UGA proud.

BG

April 8th, 2012
9:56 pm

GATA Bubba! GO DAWGS!!

Tech fans puke up stories

April 8th, 2012
9:59 pm

Way to go Bubba. A kid from Bagdad playing in the rough course and pinestraw paid dividends in Augusta Georgia.

Congrats

April 8th, 2012
9:59 pm

Both Bubba and Kuch gave the whole state of Georgia something to be very proud of!

Justice prevails...

April 8th, 2012
10:04 pm

Jeff S. – no mention of Tiger? How will the game of golf survive without him? Although you did mention woods several times in the article above – and what a great shot BUBBA hit out of them! To golf fans worldwide, the great game of golf will be fine without TW! It’s great to see another humble, passionate gentleman win the Master’s. Jeff Schultzie…let’s move on from here and quit bowing down at the TW altar. Proud of you, Jeff S….

MountainMan

April 8th, 2012
10:08 pm

Jeff,

I think you wanted say that he was under enormous “pressure” in the Ryder Cup.

RGP

April 8th, 2012
10:20 pm

Bubba – you made the UGA Nation proud!

Sid

April 8th, 2012
10:24 pm

Man, you could see it in the grit of his teeth. Given a chance he was gonna keep this trophy in Georgia.

Sid

April 8th, 2012
10:25 pm

Justice prevails…

April 8th, 2012
10:04 pm
Jeff S. – no mention of Tiger?
*******************************************
Tiger…………….is that you?

Sid

April 8th, 2012
10:26 pm

I never could hit out of pine straw…………but then again, you have to hit further than 150 to worry about that………………lol…..!!!

Sonny Clusters

April 8th, 2012
10:27 pm

Well, we’ll see what kind of Bulldog he is when he gets through the week without being arrested for something. Having a champion named Bubba may be a big deal for Augusta National but it is no big deal around here. There are more Bubbas per capita here than anywhere else you can think of that’s not Alabama or Mississippi or Tennessee. We think the Braves should hire a Bubba to manage the team because you hardly ever see a Bubba that’s a cap tipper.

Terry Hayworth

April 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

Makes you believe in USA Golf again! Bubba, you made us proud!!

GolfisGreat

April 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

Agreed, congrats Bubba. The state of GA looked great between hosting the greatest golf tournament in the world, having the winner a grad of our flagship school, and a close runner-up (Kuchar) having gone to Tech and being a permanent resident of the state.

As a fan of the State of Georgia, I think we can all be proud this weekend.

Sid

April 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

Hey, don’t kid yourself………if it hadn’t been Bubba I would be totally pleased to see Kuchar take the title.

Ole Smoky

April 8th, 2012
10:28 pm

Just glad Bubba won & can’t wait to see what’s served @ the next Champions Dinner….

UGA Proud

April 8th, 2012
10:31 pm

Well, finally us Bubbas are getting their due. I never saw a keg there around No. 11, but I expect there was one someplace. Go Dawgs!

UGA Proud

April 8th, 2012
10:33 pm

Just glad Bubba won & can’t wait to see what’s served @ the next Champions Dinner….

Cheesy grits, you moran, with red-eye gravy and cat-grave biscuits.

jim

April 8th, 2012
10:50 pm

congrats bubba. seems to be a humble and classy fellow….great for him to represent THE MASTERS! bless you bubba….a VOL.

Brian

April 8th, 2012
10:51 pm

Bubba should come out to the spring game and UGA should honor him at halftime!!!! Well if he is not playing Hilton Head that is

BobDawg

April 8th, 2012
10:52 pm

How about John Isner (Dawg) leading the US of A into the Semis of the Davis Cup in Tennis!!!! Great All Around Sports program at UGA with the best facilities…..

BobDawg

April 8th, 2012
10:53 pm

I was rooting for Koooooch also! He represents Tech well…

bart

April 8th, 2012
10:55 pm

Go Bubba! You made all us Dawgs proud! Hope you win many, many more.

Tech Fan

April 8th, 2012
10:57 pm

I became a Bubba fan today – but was hoping for a GT/UGA sudden death! With GT taking the green jacket.

Congrats to Bubba – what a tremendous shot on the 10th hole.
Very proud for you and your school this Easter Sunday.
What a great story with this coming on the heels of the adoption of your son, Caleb.
A great victory!

evil empire

April 8th, 2012
10:57 pm

congrats watson…a florida kid by the way….uga is lead by non georgians when it comes to sports recently….watson…florida…murray…florida…stafford…texas…ajgreen…south carolina…vince dooley…alabama…morino…new jersey…musa smith…pa…if it wasn’t for outsiders, georgia would look like mississippi…

Brian

April 8th, 2012
10:59 pm

Its Moreno Jacka**

Brian

April 8th, 2012
11:00 pm

Its Moreno you Jack@**

BobDawg

April 8th, 2012
11:01 pm

Congrats, Bubba!!!!

BobDawg

April 8th, 2012
11:03 pm

Evil Empire… just like a lot of kids want to leave Ga to get away from home, a lot of kids from other states want to come here for their Sports…. and get away from home…

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 8th, 2012
11:10 pm

Bubba’s shot was the “shot from the woods” in Augusta. Great finish!! Phenomenal start to the UGA season!! Congrats to him & his family.

SatillaDawg

April 8th, 2012
11:11 pm

Wow! I jumped straight out of my chair!

Incredible second shot on ten, Bubba!

I haven’t been that excited since Herschel ran over Bill Bates!

Congratulations to a DGD!

Go Dawgs!

Hurt Kurbstreit

April 8th, 2012
11:13 pm

It’s been a great week for Bulldog fans. Bubba wins the Masters, Isner clinches the Davis Cup semi-final over France, football gets 3 commitments and Bobby Petrino is in big trouble at Ark. Gotta love it!

Hurt Kurbstreit

April 8th, 2012
11:17 pm

A great showing by Matt Kucher. He’s gonna get his major soon.

Dawg Whisperer

April 8th, 2012
11:17 pm

Good show, Bubba. Give credit where credit is due. All the glory goes to Christ, the risen savior. Nice media interview. God and family before career = success in life. Reminds me of another Bulldog that runs a football team.

GolfisGreat

April 8th, 2012
11:18 pm

Whoa whoa whoa..it seems like both Tech and UGA fans alike are excited about Bubba. Can we actually be at peace over the Masters victory making the state of GA look good? I must be in another universe. With that said, from one Tech fan to the dawg nation, be proud! What a great victory for our state!

Iloveuga

April 8th, 2012
11:19 pm

Congrats, bubba, on winning the masters! And congrats to you, your wife, and new baby-it doesn’t get any better!

28211'sforBubba

April 8th, 2012
11:27 pm

Great W Bubba!!!!!! Awesome shot out of the pinestraw in the playoff…GO DAWGS

GTBob

April 8th, 2012
11:30 pm

I see that Jeff and the other UGA fans out there are going to pretend they like Golf now.

MarshallsHammy

April 8th, 2012
11:30 pm

Right on Hurt! Sweet week for our Bulldogs though I wont make it to the GDay game w/ this achin hamstring…I’ll be ready in the Fall!

Gwinnett Fred

April 8th, 2012
11:31 pm

Nice article, but get your golf course geography straight.

All his family, friends & other golfers found their way on to the TENTH green, not the 18th green after sinking the inning put. I assume you were actually there, right?

boykin

April 8th, 2012
11:33 pm

KUCHAR=DUVAL=BALL=TEVIN=CHOKE=GTBOB

Minor league stadium ne of atl

April 8th, 2012
11:36 pm

Fred:Sinking the “inning putt”? Confusing this with the big league team SWEEP?

GTBob

April 8th, 2012
11:37 pm

KUCHAR=DUVAL=BALL=TEVIN=CHOKE=GTBOB

Kuchar did choke pretty bad today. Luckily though it’s golf and his name isn’t Tiger Woods so no one cares.

boykin

April 8th, 2012
11:38 pm

Kirbstreit, what does Petrino have to do with UGA having a good week bru?