by Jeff Skinner
Watson did today what few men can do in this world: he held off the charge of youth. Watson, 35 was paired with the 20 year old phenom Jordan Spieth who threatened to rewrite the Masters record book as the youngest winner in tournament history. But youth was not served today as Watson’s experience and new found on course patience ruled the day as he shot a solid 69 to capture his second Masters victory.
After his first Masters win in 2012 Watson was admittedly distracted by all that came with the Masters title. At the same time he had just adopted his son Caleb and his focus was on being a good father and husband. As distractions go that is by far the most noble but still, it affected his game. His play on the PGA Tour fell off and he appeared short tempered at times on the course.
But being a good parent will teach you many things and patience and understanding is part of that. Watson found the happy balance of home and work recently and his play and demeanor have showed just that. He managed his game today and let nothing bother him but early on it looked like he may be challenged by his youthful partner.
As first it looked like Spieth would indeed set a new mark for winning The Masters. With four birdies and a lone bogey in the first seven holes the young Texan fashioned a two shot lead over Watson. But fate and the holes of Augusta National has something to say about Spieth’s attempt to make history.
He walked off the seventh green with a two stroke lead. He was at 8 under, Watson at 6 under. By the time he made the turn and walked to the tenth tee the scores were reversed and Watson held the lead.
Watson had found his groove and birdied both the eighth and ninth holes while Spieth had lost his game and bogeyed the same holes. In a matter of two holes the fortunes had been reversed and Watson was the player in the driver’s seat, striding the fairways with head up. Spieth had to feel like the wind had been knocked out of him and it showed.
A two putt birdie at the thirteenth hole gave Watson a three stroke lead and the contest for the 78th Masters had becomes a victory march for Watson. Solid pars from fourteen through the last gave him a three under 69, the low round among the leaders and his second green jacket.
One thing hasn’t changed about Bubba Watson though: he cried like a baby as the final putt fell. And this time he took a victory lap with his son Caleb in his arms.