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Bubba’s second Masters win establishes him as a major force

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It was shaping up to be a potentially all-time-special Masters Sunday.

The 54-hole leaderboard had a bit of everything: 15 players within five shots of the lead of all ages and experience levels. The final pairing of 20-year-old Jordan Spieth and 35-year old Bubba Watson would reflect the diverse leaderboard that also included 7th-ranked player Matt Kuchar paired with Sweden’s Jonas Blixt in the penultimate pairing a shot back and 25-year old Rickie Fowler playing alongside 50-year old Miguel Angel Jimenez, just two shots back. Oh, and don’t forget Fred Couples, the 1992 champion, for whom the Masters seems to be a one-week-a-year appointment with the Fountain of Youth.

In the end, the Green Jacket went to Watson, who fired a final-round 69 to win by three shots over Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. With the victory, Watson, the 2012 champ, becomes the ninth player to win Masters two years apart. This year’s triumph saw him take control early and play steady golf over Augusta National’s famously volatile closing stretch to earn the victory.

The hard-hitting lefty’s second major championship win confirms the legitimacy of his first, especially in light of what had at times appeared mediocre and disinterested play between April 2012 and February 2014, when he seemed to find a spark. He followed a runner-up finish at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a victory at the Northern Trust Open, his first since the 2012 Masters.

Sunday’s performance was decisive, but not without drama. Watson opened with two pars, but his driver off the No. 3 tee put him out of position for his second shot and led to a bogey. True to form, though, he followed with a brilliant tee shot on the 243-yard par-3 fourth and rebounded with only the fourth birdie of the day on the hole after watching Jordan Spieth hole out from the front bunker. Few players have the ability to recover from such a mistake, but Watson proved his 2012 Masters victory was no fluke with the way he played after his early bogey.

The day’s main momentum swing came at the par-5 8th when Watson unleashed a 328-yard tee shot, leaving him within long iron range in two. While Watson made birdie, Spieth three-putted for bogey and both player were tied with 10 holes to play. Watson then birdied No. 9 while Spieth bogeyed to complete a four-shot swing in two holes, putting Watson in the lead for good.

Given the slightest cushion over Spieth and the rest of the field, Watson was able to bend the key parts of Augusta National Golf Club to his will. After his 328-yard bomb off the 8th tee, leading to a birdie, his hit a 366-yard drive that, in baseball terms, would be described as a “tape-measure shot.” A gap wedge from 144 yards remained and Watson two-putted for birdie to open up a three-shot lead that he would never relinquish. Two holes later, though, Watson had viewers and Masters patrons alike shaking their heads when, instead of laying up on the par-5 15th, he punched his second shot through a stand of pines left of the fairway to the collection area over the green, en route to a par. A bad break or poor execution would have brought a number of players back into the tournament, but Watson’s swashbuckling nature — termed “BubbaGolf” — would not be denied.

Early in the round, Spieth seemed poised to become only the second player since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 to win the Masters on his first attempt, but a number of errant shots kept him from challenging Watson over the closing holes. His tee shot at the par-3 12th came up short in Rae’s Creek and even though he was able to drop and get up and down for bogey, his struggles gave Watson the cushion he needed. In a year when final-round leaders have seldom been steady, 2014’s first major played out more or less by the book. The leader didn’t squander shots over the closing stretch; he conserved them and coasted to an impressive win.

The challengers never gained enough momentum to mount a back-nine charge, leaving the final pairing as the sole main contenders. Matt Kuchar will have to wait another couple months to pursue his first major championship. His chances were scuttled by an overabundance of shots missed to the left all day, as well as a four-putt double-bogey on the par-3 fourth. These were just a few unforced errors that will leave him majorless at least a bit longer.

Jonas Blixt showed off his famously excellent touch on and around the greens throughout the day but a number of errant full shots kept him from having enough birdie chances to contend. In the end, though, General Lee owner Bubba Watson would ride again over the prim, proper hills of Augusta National.

Onward goes the tour to Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage next weekend, with one eye on the Village of Pinehurst until Father’s Day Weekend and the next chapter in 2014’s major championship story.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Jake

    May 29, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Bubba is a great player! If I could change one part of his game, it would have to be his finish, however, you have to have respect for a guy without lessons

  2. chris franklin

    Apr 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Bubba is a refreshing change in the monotonous world of professional golf but to label him as a ‘major force’ is an extravagant piece of journalistic nonsense.
    He has won the same tournament over the same course twice,a tournament that hardly justifies calling itself a ‘major’but nevertheless a splendid achievement.
    His record in the Open,the US Open and PGA is not good and until such time as he wins one or more of those your label is a misnomer.

  3. Jack

    Apr 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    No offense, but If your a contributing writer for a golf only site, you’d think you would know the majors by now. Why it is so hard to take any gear reviews on this site serious, never know the capabilities of the actual reviewer.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Apr 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Jack,

      You should know that our reviews are a team effort at GolfWRX. While we generally send clubs to a single reviewer for testing, nothing is published without me consulting at least one member of our panel of elite custom fitters to verify our tester’s findings and the performance of the club(s).

      In the coming months, we’ll do a better job of explaining what actually goes into our reviews so that readers like yourself can better understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. c masty

    Apr 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Only 1 jacket is ever given, even to multi-year winners.

    • Ponjo

      Apr 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Wrong c nasty. Every time they win they get a jacket to hang in their locker

  5. cole

    Apr 13, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    That seems to be becoming his course!

  6. Boo

    Apr 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Congrats Bubba! Bubba golf loves some Augusta National!

  7. Ronald Montesano

    Apr 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Isn’t the Players Championship a major?

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Report: 2020 Open Championship set to be cancelled; R&A releases statement in response: “continuing to work through options”

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This year’s Open Championship will be cancelled outright by the R&A due to the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from Golf Digest.

Per the report, an unnamed source has divulged to the publication that the championship will next take place in 2021 with St. Andrews hosting the event. Royal St. Georges, due to host the 2020 Open Championship, would instead host the 2024 edition.

According to Golf Digest’s source, insurance has played a pivotal role in the decision making. As with Wimbledon, the Open Championship has an insurance policy that protects itself against a global pandemic if the event is cancelled by a specific date.

On Wednesday, the R&A officially announced that the 41st Curtis Cup would be played in 2021 while the organization also moved the British Amateur and British Women’s Amateur from June to August.

Though unconfirmed, this would mark the first major championship of 2020 to be cancelled outright, with the Masters and PGA Championship having been officially postponed.

*UPDATE*

On Thursday morning, in light of the speculation surrounding this year’s Open Championship, Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, released a statement where he said the R&A are “continuing to work through our options for The Open this year.”

“We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement. Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve. We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can. We will give a further update as soon as we are in a position to do so and thank everyone for their support and understanding in this challenging situation.”

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Report: Woods-Mickelson Part 2 likely to happen in May and will feature two other sporting superstars

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Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson teased “The Match” Part 2 on his social media, and according to a report from CNBC the exhibition, though unconfirmed, is likely to take place in May and will include both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

On Monday evening, golf journalist Robert Lusetich stated that the potential “The Match” Part 2 would likely involve NFL legends, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in a two on two contest.

Now per CNBC’s report, who claim that “a person familiar with the negotiations” confirmed the story to them, the contest is organized by AT&T’s WarnerMedia and the PGA Tour, and would likely take place in May with the proceeds going towards coronavirus relief charities.

The report also claims the event would likely not be a pay-per-view contest, with plans also in place to feature big names throughout the PGA, NFL, and National Basketball Association.

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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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