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Bubba Watson Wins Masters In Playoff


The Masters Golf Tournament finished dramatically yesterday in a sudden-death playoff that ended with Bubba Watson sporting the green jacket. Christine Brennan was there. She's sports columnist for USA Today and a frequent guest on our program. She joins us this morning from Augusta.

Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So after all the talk about Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, it came down to a playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. Tell us what happened.

BRENNAN: That's correct. Proves you can't predict these things. And it really was quite exciting. The drama at Augusta as the light is fading - 33-year-old Bubba Watson likes to say if he has a swing, he has a shot. He was down by four strokes at one point. He birdied the 13th, the 14th, the 15th and the 16th hole, Renee. That's extraordinary under the pressure of the final round of the Masters.

And he caught Louis Oosthuizen. And then he - they parred several holes, went to the playoff, and on the second playoff hole Bubba Watson hit a dramatic shot from the pine straw, the tall pines, just kind of making it up as he went along, and parred the 10th hole, which is a really tough hole, the second playoff hole, and won the green jacket. As he said, he's a guy who hadn't even won a PGA Tour event two years ago, and now he's the Masters champion.

MONTAGNE: Well, he is, Bubba Watson, something of a study in contradictions.

BRENNAN: Yes, he is. You know, he's one of the game's longest hitters, drives the ball over 300 yards. But he plays with a pink driver and wears pink trim for cancer research and awareness, in honor of that. He does that on his all-whites that he wore all week. This is in honor of his father, who died of cancer a couple of years ago.

So here you've got, Renee, a swashbuckler, a guy who just can't wait to try a new shot. He out-Phils Phil Mickelson, if that's possible. And yet he's an emotional fellow who cried in his mother's arms on the green, cried in his caddy's arms, cried in the press conference later, talking about his one-month-old son that he and his wife have adopted. And so a very sensitive kind of guy who can hit the ball a mile.

MONTAGNE: Tell us a little more about Louis Oosthuizen. He also had a dramatic moment earlier in the round.

BRENNAN: He sure did. And it was on the second hole. It's a par-5, 260 yards away. Oosthuizen hit the ball in front of the green and it rolled and it rolled and it rolled and it was tracking for about 12 seconds, Renee, and then it dropped right off the face of the Earth into the hole. It was a double-eagle, only the fourth ever in Masters history.

And that's where Bubba Watson knew anything was possible, because Watson was playing with Oosthuizen. And so he said he wanted to high-five him, but he thought that probably wouldn't be appropriate since they're competitors. But that's when these two kind of took off and played their own game in the final round of the Masters.

MONTAGNE: We have a few seconds to look at a couple more players. Phil Mickelson, he was one stroke out of the lead as he teed off Sunday. What happened to him?

BRENNAN: Yeah, he went the other direction. On the par-3 fourth hole, which should be relatively easy for him, he hit the ball, his tee shot, off the grandstand, then had to hit two shots right-handed - and he's a lefty - ended up with a triple-bogey and gave up three strokes to the field. And at that point he had to spend the rest of the round just catching up to finish where he started. So he really wasn't a factor after - it kind of got close - but wasn't really a factor after that disastrous fourth hole.

MONTAGNE: And Christine, we've got about ten seconds for Tiger Woods.

BRENNAN: Oh, yeah. A shocker. He finished the tournament plus-5. He said he was ready. He wasn't ready. His worst finish in a major where he's gone all four rounds. His game clearly isn't back, but his temper is, unfortunately, with some histrionics during the rounds.

MONTAGNE: Thanks very much. USA Today's sports columnist Christine Brennan. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.