Bubba’s emotional victory

Every Easter weekend, time seems to slow down as the world’s attention is directed down beautiful Magnolia Lane, settling on the impeccable grounds of Augusta National Golf Club.

The Masters is a tournament steeped in tradition, and is home to some of the most memorable moments in golfing history. The winner takes home the spoils of a coveted green jacket, but more important is the right to etch his name in golfing history next to the greatest players ever. In this sense, the Masters is more than a major championship: it is a proving ground that has birthed some of the greatest players ever.

Many of the great names of golf, such as Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods, all established international recognition after achieving their first major win at the Masters. This year’s winner, Bubba Watson, is no exception to the rule, and the story behind his amazing win makes it even sweeter.

Going into the final day of the tournament, the crowded leader board showed several prominent names within striking distance. Phil Mickelson started the day only one shot behind the leader, and he exuded confidence due to his experience of three Masters wins. However, as all the players made the turn onto the back nine, the dozens of storylines that could have unfolded quietly faded away as chants of “Bubba, Bubba!” took center stage.

Watson’s back nine on Sunday was immaculate, as he followed a bogey on 12 with 4 straight birdies to shoot a 68 and bring his score to ten under par. This got him into a playoff with his playing partner Louis Oosthuizen, who had an equally impressive round that was kicked off with a double eagle on the 575 yard par 5 second hole.

After missing a ten-foot put to win on the first playoff hole, Watson seemed understandably upset as he ventured to number ten. This transitioned to Watson’s tee shot, which he hit well into the trees on the right side of the long par four. However, he was able to recover by hitting a miraculous 150-yard hook from the pine straw that somehow landed on the green.

This was a fitting way to win for a man who has admittedly never taken a golf lesson and is known for his unconventional swing and playing style. Immediately after tapping in for the title of 2012 Masters Champion, Watson broke into tears as he embraced an entourage of fellow tour players and family members.

As opposed to the celebratory fist pumps and roars of players like Tiger Woods, Watson’s outpouring of emotion was moving and poignant, showing that he had respect for the magnitude of the moment. When asked to comment on his victory, the choked up Watson simply answered, “I never got this far in my dreams . . . to talk.”

Watson’s speechlessness can be attributed to the fact that much more was on his mind in the moments after he tapped in the biggest put of his life. During Watson’s last tournament, the 2010 Professional Golfers’ Association (which he lost in a playoff), his father was in the midst of a battle with cancer, and sadly passed away soon after.

Watson’s wife, Angie, has also struggled with health issues in the recent past that prevented her from having children. However, the couple recently adopted a one-month-old boy named Caleb.

The Masters was the first time Watson was in close contention at a major tournament without the support of his father, and also the first in which he could call himself a father.

Despite Watson’s no-doubt turbulent emotions, he was able to complete a great week of golf and leave fans with many great memories that have simply added to the allure of the tradition that is The Masters.

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