As I wrote about in a prior post, I love having my Sundays back; and this Sunday means getting to watch The Masters, one of my favorite Sunday pastimes, seeing the great golf play on this storied course and the spring in full bloom at Augusta National, a teaser for us in Northern New England.
As you may know, I'm a fan of Phil Mickelson or Lefty as he is known to his fans. As a lefthanded golfer, and I use that term very loosely, it's been great to have someone represent us on the biggest stages of the sport. I'll continue with Phil for a second to let you know that he finished in a tie for 3rd in this years Masters, 2 shots off the lead as a result of a triple bogey on a par 3 early in his round. This is Phil's 8th top 3 finish in this tournament and he's finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 14 entries to go along with his 3 wins.
Don't forget that Mike Weir, the lefty from Canada, won The Masters in '03, before Phil's 3 wins. Now add this year's winner and you have 5 out of the last 10 Masters being won by lefties.
This year's winner? None other than a Bubba Watson, the heir-apparent to Mickelson not only because he plays lefthanded but even more so because he plays just like Phil -- grip it and rip it, no shot is too hard or too risky. The hole that ultimately won the tourney for Bubba, the second playoff hole where he finds himself in the trees on the pine straw but with an opening to the green if he can bend it 40 years, is eerily reminiscent of Lefty at the Masters two years ago -- grip it and rip it with 12 feet of the hole. Not bad for a guy who's never taken a lesson nor watched video of his own swing. And if you saw the ceremony where he was awarded the Green Jacket in Butler Cabin, you've gotta love the guy -- just like a kid in a candy store with genuine emotion.
Bubba started the day 3 shots off the lead (teeing off in the penultimate pairing with Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open winner) of Peter Hanson and two shots behind Phil. He witnessed history on the second hole, where his playing partner Oosthuizen striped a shot from the fairway to the front of the green and we all watched it roll across the green and into the hole for only the 4th albatross in the history of The Masters. So Oosthuizen jumps from 2 shots off the lead to 2 shots ahead, as Hanson had bogeyed the first hole. When Louis calmly put in tough par puts on the 3rd and another hole later in the front nine, it looked like this was his tournament; but Bubba had stayed steady and put in a few birdies to stay close, then birdieing the 16th to pull even.
Thanks, The Masters, for giving me something enjoyable to watch so I didn't have to watch another Red Sox late inning collapse.