■ Life of bill Zumberis: The longtime Dumas High baseball coach died this week and his funeral will be Saturday in Dumas. Coach “Z” could come off as a gruff one. Down deep he had a heart of gold and we shared a love — talking baseball.
■ Bubba Watson: What a thrill to see the common man with the uncommon swing win the Green Jacket. Can’t wait to hear what Watson chooses as the champions dinner next year. I’m betting it’s In-N-Out hamburgers.
■ Tascosa and AHS baseball fans: Tip of the cap to those who attended the Tascosa-Amarillo game for donating almost $400 to the Madison Knebusch fund called Madison’s Mission. Madison was a sophomore at high school and died Jan. 12 from cancer.
■ Tiger Woods haters: So Tiger Woods throws a club at the Masters and national writers are calling for him to grow up and saying he should be ashamed. I saw about three other golfers at Masters throw clubs down and not a thing was said. This is because Tiger has a camera on him all the time and some of the national writers rarely leave the press building to actually watch the tournament. all they see is what is on TV or hearsay. Besides, not one golfer out there can claim to have been perfect with their emotions on the course. Leave Tiger alone when he chunks a club.
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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bubba Watson had reason to feel like a rock star.
His playoff win at the Masters on the second extra hole stretched into early evening, and when he finally slipped on the Green Jacket during the trophy presentation, the flashes from so many cameras danced across his face like strobe lights.
''I'm not ready for fame,'' Watson said. ''I don't really want to be famous or anything like that. I just want to be me and play golf.''
he might not have a choice. His style of play – ''Bubba golf'' is what he likes to call it – already made him one of the popular figures on the PGA Tour.
in the buttoned-up sport of golf, Watson is different. he hits the ball a mile, rarely in a straight line to where he's trying to get. His driver is pink from the shaft to the head. When he's not on the course, he is posting videos of his crazy stunts on Twitter. His dream purchase was the ''General Lee 01,'' the original car in the TV series ''The Dukes of Hazzard.''
and now he is the Masters champion.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are the top two stars of their generation. Rory McIlroy is right behind them, carving his own niche around the world as a U.S. Open champion with the rawest skill of any player in his 20s.
and now there is Bubba, on a first-name basis everywhere he goes.
Perhaps it was only fitting that during his victory speech Sunday he found one downside to winning the Masters. he has been in the members' locker room since he first showed up at Augusta National in 2008 and couldn't break 70. The next time he drives down Magnolia Lane, he will walk through a different door, up the stairs to the locker room reserved for champions.
''I heard now that I leave the locker room,'' Watson said. ''It's going to be sad. I've been there for four years. I know all the guys. they treat me real well. So, sorry.''
It's time to move on, and move up.
Watson, with his fourth career win in his last 51 starts, is now No. 4 in the world, which makes him the highest-ranked American. he is virtually a lock to be at Medinah for another Ryder Cup. It was the second time in the last six majors that Watson has been in a playoff, losing to Martin Kaymer at the 2010 PGA Championship. he has earned more than $3 million in each of the last two seasons and played in his first Ryder Cup.
how much better can he be?
''Major champion … I mean, can't do any better than this,'' he said. ''I've won four times and won a major. who knows? That's the best part about history. we don't know what's going to happen. we don't know the future. we don't know anything. Hopefully, I keep crying. Hopefully, I keep having the passion to play golf and keep doing what I'm doing.''
Watson showed his emotions at the start of the week. stopped under the oak tree after a practice round, someone asked him what it would mean to win, and he brought up the adoption of his first son, Caleb, two weeks ago. Watson got so choked up he walked away.
Winning the Masters? he was uncontrollable.
he sobbed on the shoulder of his mother, Molly. he hugged everyone he could find — caddie Ted Scott, his trainer and players who stuck around to see him go two extra holes for a Green Jacket, such as Ben Crane, Aaron Baddeley and Rickie Fowler.
Watson is a self-described goof, yet he looked more determined than ever at the Masters.
Sunday at Augusta National was a supreme test.
he started three shots out of the lead, and two holes into the final round, he watched Louis Oosthuizen make an albatross on the par-5 second hole with a 4-iron that landed on the front of the green and rolled some 90 feet into the cup for a 2.
that put him four shots behind, though Watson knew he could make up ground, and he was right. The turning point came after his bogey on the par-3 12th, when mud on his ball sent his putt behind the green off line and some 6 feet by the hole. Watson ran off four straight birdies, all of them impressive – a 9-iron for his second shot on the par-5 13th for a two-putt birdie, a sand wedge to 5 feet on the 14th, another massive drive for a 7-iron onto the green at the par-5 15th and an 8-iron to 4 feet at the 16th.
still, this Masters will be remembered for two wild shots in the playoff. One was an accident. The other was on purpose.
After he and Oosthuizen each missed birdie chances on the 18th in a playoff, Watson pulled his drive into the trees to the right of the 10th fairway. When he saw his ball deep in the woods, he immediately pictured the shot in his head.
not many others could have seen it.
he used the crowd as a line for how he wanted to start the gap wedge from 155 yards — straight to the fairway, low enough to stay under a large limb and then a wild hook toward the green.
''Hooked it about 40 yards, hit about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and then started rising,'' he said. ''Pretty easy.''
It set up a two-putt par from 10 feet, enough for the win when Oosthuizen chipped 12 feet by the hole and two-putted for bogey.
where does Watson get the nerve to hit such a shot? Because that's fun to him, whether he's in a practice round with friends or playing for the prestige of a Green Jacket.
''I want to hit the incredible shot,'' he said. ''who doesn't?''
That's what makes Watson special. His father, who died after the Ryder Cup in 2010, was the only teacher Watson had, and there weren't many lessons. he showed his son how to grip the club and swing it, and the boy figured the rest out himself. Watson still doesn't have a teacher.
''why do I want somebody to tell me what to do?'' he once said. ''I'm still a kid. I'm hitting shots that I want to hit. I'm doing the things that I want to do. I play it my way.''
Bubba golf. It's going to be fun.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — the rarest shot in golf can happen any time Bubba Watson has a golf club in hands. Watson was so deep in the woods late Sunday afternoon that he couldn’t even see where he was going. with his golf ball nestled on a bed of pine needles, he hit a gap wedge that shot out toward the fairway and hooked some 40 yards and onto the elevated green. Nothing less than the Masters was riding on the outcome. Nothing else would do except for a page right out of “Bubba golf.” and on a thrill-a-minute Sunday at Augusta National, where Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa made only the fourth double eagle in the 76-year history of this major, it made Watson a Masters champion. “I’ve never had a dream go this far, so I can’t really say it’s a dream come true,” Watson said. “I don’t even know what happened on the back nine. … Nervous on every shot, every putt. Went into a playoff. I got in these trees and hit a crazy shot that I saw in my head, and somehow I’m here talking to you with a green jacket on.” his amazing shot in the playoff settled 10 feet from the hole, setting up a simple par for the win. Lost in all the commotion was Oosthuizen making what is commonly called the rarest shot in golf — an albatross — when his 4-iron from 253 yards on the par-5 second hole landed on the front of the green, took the slope and rolled some 90 feet into the cup for a 2. Oosthuizen had never made a double eagle in his life. his Masters ended by watching a shot he didn’t know existed. After hitting short of the 10th green in the playoff, he was in the fairway and could only see a trail of fans leading into the woods. “I had no idea where he was,” Oosthuizen said. “where I stood from, when the ball came out, it looked like a curve ball. Unbelievable shot. that shot he hit definitely won him the tournament.” Watson, who made four straight birdies on the back nine and closed with a 4-under 68, made it all sound so simple. Maybe it’s because he has hit so many shots like that before. Maybe it’s because he is one of the few players who doesn’t have a swing coach, and never has. “Hooked it about 40 yards, hit about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and then started rising,” Watson said. “Pretty easy.” the hard part was holding back tears. He was blubbering hard on the 10th green, shoulders heaving and face contorted, for so many reasons. just two weeks ago, he and his wife adopted a baby boy, Caleb. the first person on the green was his mother — his father died right after the Ryder Cup in 2010. He held her tight and cried some more. as incredible as it all seemed, Gerry “Bubba” Watson, Jr., the powerful lefty with a million shots at his disposal, was a major champion. “I never got this far in my dreams,” Watson said in Butler cabin, where defending champion Charl Schwartzel helped him into the green jacket. “It’s a blessing. to go home to my new son, it’s going to be fun.” Oosthuizen was trying to join Gene Sarazen in the 1935 Masters as the only major champions to win with a double eagle in the final round. the former British Open champion made one clutch putt after another on the back nine, none more important than a 4-footer on the 18th for a 69 to force the playoff. both had a good look at birdie at no. 18 on the first extra hole and missed. Watson, dressed all in white and using a pink driver, hooked his tee shot on the 10th into the trees, and it appeared he would have no shot at reaching the green. Walking down the fairway toward an uncertain lie, he and caddie Ted Scott recalled their credo — “if I have a swing, I’ve got a shot.” among his idols in golf are Seve Ballesteros, who built a career on magical escapes like this one. it was the first Masters since Ballesteros died last May. Watson also admires Phil Mickelson, who never saw a flag that frightened him. “I attack. I always attack,” Watson said. “I don’t like to go to the center of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot. who doesn’t? That’s why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot.” they finished at 10-under 278, two shots ahead of four players who kept it close and made the Masters as compelling as ever. Mickelson, playing in the final group for the fourth time, recovered from a triple bogey on the par-3 fourth hole and still managed to stay in the game. He could only make two-putt birdies on the two par 5s on the back and shot 72. “It’s disappointing that I didn’t grab that fourth green jacket,” said Mickelson, whose wife and three kids flew in from San Diego on Sunday. “It’s disappointing that I didn’t make it happen on the back nine and get the putts to fall, even though I felt like I was hitting them pretty good. I gave them all good chances. I just couldn’t quite get them to go.” Lee Westwood of England ran off three straight birdies, but the last one hurt. He had an 8-foot eagle putt to tie for the lead on the 15th and missed it, and a final birdie on the 18th gave him a 68 and only made it look close. “I don’t feel like giving up just yet,” said Westwood, who had his seventh top-3 finish in a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. Matt Kuchar tied for the lead with a short eagle putt on the 15th, then bogeyed the 16th for a 69. Peter Hanson of Sweden, who had a one-shot lead going into the final round, didn’t make a birdie until the 15th hole. He closed with a 73. Watson, a 33-year-old from Bagdad, Fla., in the Panhandle, won for the fourth time in his career and moves to no. 4 in the world, making him the highest-ranked American in golf. He became the fifth left-hander to win the Masters in the last 10 years. and he created a legion of fans — especially in Georgia, where he returned to school to get his degree — who chanted, “Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!” as he hugged everyone he could find on the 10th green. “I don’t play the sport for fame. I don’t try to win tournaments for fame,” Watson said. “I don’t do any of that. It’s just me. I’m just Bubba. I goof around. I joke around. “I just want to be me and play golf.” Tiger Woods used to play practice rounds with Watson at the majors because he was intrigued how a guy who has never had a coach could make the ball move any direction he wanted. Watson hasn’t had a lesson since he was 10. his father taught him the basic grip and basic swing, and Watson took it from there. the challenge has always been figuring out the game by himself. “I just swing funny, and somehow it works,” he once said. Woods was among those who congratulated Watson on Twitter before the trophy presentation. “Congrats (at)bubbawatson. fantastic creativity. now how creative will the champions dinner be next year?” he tweeted. Oosthuizen was trying to become only the sixth player to have won majors at Augusta National and St. Andrews — two of the most revered courses in golf — and almost got it done. He stayed in the lead with a tricky par putt from 10 feet on the 14th and a 7-foot birdie putt on the 15th, but Watson caught him by making his fourth straight birdie on the back nine, a tee shot into 4 feet on the 16th. both hung on for pars the rest of the way. Woods went from the favorite to not even a factor on the weekend. He closed with a birdie on the 18th for a 74 and had his highest score ever at the Masters as a pro, finishing at 5-over 293 — 15 shots out of the lead. this, from a guy who only two weeks ago won by five shots at Bay Hill, presumably signaling a return. “it was an off week at the wrong time,” Woods said. He tied for 40th with U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, also favored to contend. McIlroy was one shot out of the lead after two rounds, then had a 77-76 weekend. Woods and McIlroy were expected to be a big part of the show. this being Augusta, the show managed to go on. There simply is no greater theater in golf than the Masters, and it lasted all day. An ace for Bo Van Pelt on the 16th — the second straight year he has made two eagles on the back nine — for a tournament-best 64. An ace for Adam Scott on the same hole, sending him to a 66. the loudest cheer was for Oosthuizen’s albatross. Hanson was sizing up a difficult chip from right of the first green when Augusta erupted in cheers from down below. no one was sure what it meant until Hanson and Mickelson hit their tee shots on the par-5 second, glanced over at the white leaderboard behind the eighth green and saw that Oosthuizen had gone from 7 under to 10 under ahead of them. Hanson made two quick bogeys and never caught back up. Mickelson’s tournament might have ended on the fourth hole with one swing, one bad bounce off the bleachers, and two straight right-handed shots that led to triple bogey. “Oh, no,” Mickelson said as his tee shot struck the grandstand and caromed into the woods. He could have gone back to the tee and played his third shot. Instead, he tried to chop out of the trees from the right side and barely moved it a yard. He tried the same shot again and slapped it to a muddy patch of grass. from there he went into the bunker, and triple bogey was the best he could do. Kuchar made a late run, but this back nine — plus two extra holes — ultimately belonged to Watson and Oosthuizen. and when it was over, austere Augusta National had a guy named “Bubba” in a green jacket.
AUGUSTA, Georgia (AFP) – American Bubba Watson parred the second sudden-death playoff hole to defeat South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and capture the 76th Masters on Sunday for his first major golf championship.
The 33-year-old US left-hander became the eighth first-time major winner in a row and only the third southpaw to claim the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremacy after three-time winner Phil Mickelson and Canada’s Mike Weir.
“I never got this far in my dreams, to talk,” Watson said when asked to put his emotions into words. “It’s a blessing for sure.”
Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, and big-hitting playing partner Watson battled down the final holes of the back nine at Augusta National, each finishing with a four-round total of 10-under par 278.
After both parred the first playoff hole, the par-4 18th, the tension-filled scene moved to the par-4 10th.
Watson hit his tee shot way right into trees and Oosthuizen hooked his right into short rough. Oosthuizen hit his approach to an upslope just short of the green.
Watson followed off pine straw through a gap in the pines with an astounding lob shot onto the green that rolled to a stop 10 feet from the hole.
“I was down there before. had a good lie,” Watson said. “Had a gap where I had to hook it. I’m pretty good at hooking it and I put it up there 40 yards and it rolled up their close.”
Oosthuizen rolled his third shot to the back edge of the green and missed a curling 20-foot par putt, then tapped in for bogey to leave Watson two putts to win the title.
“I had an opportunity at 10. I should have put one down the middle,” said Oosthuizen. “Great stuff to him. He deserves it. It was a great day. We had a lot of fun.”
Watson rolled the first inches past the hole then tapped in to win the title, sharing a tearful hug on the 10th green with mother Molly moments later.
Oosthuizen lost despite making an amazing albatross from the second fairway, only the fourth “double eagle” in Masters history and the first ever fired at the par-5 second hole, with a 4-iron from 253 yards.
The ball bounced onto the green, then rolled down a slope to the left and into the cup as the crowd roared in delight as “Oosty” leaped into the lead and Watson, having watched history, began working to make up a four-shot gap.
“I just kept my head down, knowing there were birdies to be had down the back nine,” Watson said. “I just kept grinding it out.”
After the albatross, Oosthuizen stumbled with bogeys at the par-3 fourth and par-4 10th but bounced back with birdies at the par-5 13th and 15th holes to reach 10-under.
Oosthuizen lipped out on a long eagle putt at the par-5 13th but birdied to reach nine under, then hit a testy eight-foot par putt at 14 and a 10-footer for birdie at the 15th.
But Watson answered a bogey at the par-3 12th with four birdies in a row, the last of them a six footer at the par-3 16th, to grab a share of the lead.
Watson also had birdies from four feet at 13, six feet at 14 and two feet at 15 after an eagle putt miss-hit.
Both parred 17, Watson lipping out on a long birdie putt while Oosthuizen got up and down from a bunker, and 18, Watson tapping in and Oosthuizen sinking a tense four-footer to force the playoff.
On the 18th, each had a birdie putt, Oosthuizen’s 15-footer missing just right and Watson’s 10-footer missing just left, setting up the deciding drama.
Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, fellow American Matt Kuchar, World no. 3 Lee Westwood of England and 54-hole leader Peter Hanson of Sweden shared third on 280.
England’s Ian Poulter finished seventh on 283, one shot ahead of Australian Adam Scott, England’s Justin Rose and Irishman Padraig Harrington and two ahead of American Jim Furyk.
Even before Oosthuizen’s historic swing, Augusta National showed it had plenty of excitement on offer, surrendering holes-in-one at the 170-yard par-3 16th to Scott and American Bo Van Pelt.
Mickelson damaged his hopes at the par-3 fourth when he hooked his tee shot left into trees, hacked out in two shots, found a bunker and took a triple bogey.
“It was tough,” Mickelson said. “It was just a bad break.”
Pre-tournament favorites Tiger Woods, World no. 2 Rory McIlroy and World no. 1 Luke Donald struggled to disappointing ends.
Woods fired a 74 to share 40th, his worst Masters finish as a professional, on five-over 293 to match his worst-ever 72-hole Masters score, the other coming in his 1995 debut as an amateur.
He was only one-under par on the par-5 holes he toured in 15-under in 2010.
“I didn’t play the par-5s at all this week,” Woods said. “It was an off week at the wrong time.”
McIlroy, a 22-year-old Northern Irish prodigy who won last year’s US Open after squandering a last-day Masters lead, fired a 76 to join Woods on 293.
“I was hoping to do a lot better,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I had a good chance going into the weekend and it just didn’t happen.”
England’s Donald fired a 68 and finished on 291.