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« Tiger Effect? First Day Masters Ratings Down 30% | Main | 2014 Masters Second Round Reminders, Open Thread »
Friday
Apr112014

Why Bubba Watson’s Going To Win The Masters Again

Forget the bogey on 18. Remember the artistic chip shot from left of the green that only a real artist could conjure up. Or the low-burning 300-yard-plus tee shots underneath Augusta National’s brutal Friday midday winds.

Bubba Watson is going to win this Masters. He’s got more game than anyone on the leaderboard, as evidenced multiple times during his incoming 32, giving him a 137 total for two days (-7).

The ability to overpower Augusta National? How about 186-yard 9-irons like the 16th hole shot today that set up a birdie.

Shot shaping? Up, down, left and right? Bubba isn’t afraid to combine multiple elements into a shot.

Wind shots? He may be one of the last players on the planet willing and able to play a low-burner under Masters pressure. His super-low cutting 315-yarder on 17 had the patrons oo-ing and ahh-ing.

Putting? He hasn’t three putted in 291 holes, the longest streak on the PGA Tour by well over 100.

Most of all, Bubba looks and sounds like he’s locked-in mentally.  On the course he looks like a fighter instead of a pouter.. Bubba’s grinding, not getting upset at his caddie when he’s stuck behind slow-pokes like Jason Day and Henrik Stenson, as his group was during an opening 137 (-7). All season long there has been little sign of the mood swings that hurt this prodigious talent’s chances of being the dominant player he could become. Chalk this Bay Hill 83 and WD to allergy issues.

Watson even admitted after his round that he suffered a post-Masters hangover.

"Never been drunk before, but a hangover from the green jacket," Watson said. "It is, it's going to take me some time. You know, I do everything my way.  I learned the game my way.  I figured it out my way.  So it just takes me a little bit longer with the mental focus and drive to get back to where I am today.  This year started off a little bit better than last year."

As Watson walked off the 18th tee following a low-flying 3-wood, to his immediate right were the usual ten or so patrons at the 10th hole spot where Bubba played his remarkable recovery shot in the 2012 Masters playoff. It was yet another reminder of how iconic the shot has become and how popular Watson is with Masters patrons. Bubba never looked their way. He still had the 18th to play.

The key to his stunning putting streak comes from a simple extension by a half inch, which Bubba said after his round has made his hands more relaxed and bent, creating “an athletic putting stroke and more feel.”

As workmanlike as his blade has been, it’s the combination of power and shot-shaping under trying conditions that made his 68 so impressive. Should there be any wind at all this weekend, Watson holds an advantage over most of his peers, who either do not have the shots or simply refuse to try playing shots under the wind. 

With no rain in the forecast, we’re set up for a traditional weekend with late start times and twilight finishes. Bubba’s been there, won that. Only a mental meltdown stands in his way. But as he proved Friday, Bubba’s all-around game is superior to anyone on the leaderboard.

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Reader Comments (35)

Anything can happen, but this is more than just plausible. He has to remain calm. It's his to lose. Four tough words on Friday in Augusta.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I'm not sure I would go as far as to say it's his to lose at this point on a Friday, but he's definitely got a great chance for all the reasons Geoff outlined, plus the fact he's done it before. very impressive so far.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Go Dawgs!
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Yea this course is set up for him. only a norman meltdown can probably stop him. mostly because there are few birdies anywhere by anyone, kinda of boring.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterv60golfer
oh man, i hope you didn't curse him! go bubba!

a lot of players gonna hate him for getting cut cause of his lead!
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commentergrr
He got a little jittery on 17 and 18. But I wholeheartedly with Geoff on him having more shots than anyone else in the field. And no one close to him on the leaderboard will scare him. Jonas Blixt? John Senden? Long way to go, but he's in a great position.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSari
Can I get the field and even money and you take Bubba?
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
And if he doesnt, he can always blame the caddy.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterM
Bubba is (probably) going to win the Masters, but it's because he's hitting a metric f*ck ton of GIR. Seriously, that's generally how you win the Masters. It's not sexy, just true. How Bubba does it is pretty sexy though.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Come on, it's halfway, he leads by three and you're practically conceding the tournament to Bubba? He's certainly the favourite at this point, but it won't take a meltdown for him not to win; a few bad breaks, a putter turned cold and a hot round by someone currently lurking is all that it takes. Having said that, this has got to be the least exciting leaderboard we've seen at The Masters since 1993...
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Haha M. Loved the glare when he pulled the short putt on 18
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterUnderTheChin
Whatever happened to that old kernel that the championship doesn't begin until the back 9 on Sunday?
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterscots wha hae
McIlroy was also a lock to win after the 2nd and 3rd rounds in 2011.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Please don't disabuse us of our Friday frivolity!
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I seem to recall other 36 hole leaders blowing it pretty smoothly come moving day. I have a distinct recollection of Justin Rose, and my foggy mind tells me there are more.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
This whole year has been full of blown leads by prominent players... I know the modern Augusta is practically built for lefties who bomb the ball, but Watson isn't a lock.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Taggart
Statistics from the nerds at 538.com:
Distance off the tee and GIR at the Masters. Can't be beat. Who knew?
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/at-augusta-hitting-short-drives-and-losing-is-a-tradition-unlike-any-other/
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I actually wonder if Scott isn't the favorite right now.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Bubba is one bad break away from a 77, just like the rest of the field. This has been the least compelling two rounds at this tournament in years.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBDF
This Just In from the tenth tee . . . Mcilroy WILL WIN the 2011 Masters!

Or from the eighteenth tee . . . Palmer WILL WIN the 1961 Masters!

Never count your chickens till they've been to the Butler Cabin
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenternelson1457
I do owe a shiny nickel, but other than that....who knows.

Depending on Bub to keep his mind under control~~ sounds like a reality show.

These pins on T/F are really dumb, pardon me, Billy.

For all the wonderful things the punt pass and kick did, these boring rounds are,, well, boring.

And other than his mind, Bub and everyone else is 1 bad shot from a double or worse,

As that famous Astro bench coach Yogi Berra once said--- it ain't over till it's over.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Bubba's a strange bird, and he often rubs me the wrong way with his combination of poutiness, hubris, and self-satisfaction. Despite that, he was my pick going into the tournament, and I'd be pretty surprised to see him not win it for all the reasons (plus, you know, a four shot lead) Geoff laid out.

Also, when trying to psychoanalyze Bubba, or whatever you may want to call it, this quote really does lend some insight: "You know, I do everything my way. I learned the game my way. I figured it out my way."
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenternosferatu
I watched 2/3rds of the post round interview with Bubba and he has his head screwed on straight and he's playing loose. His "striving to be a Top 25 player" comment was a playful dig at Team Reed. I'll need to run out and get some pimiento cheese and boil some eggs Saturday morning and get ready for the weekend. And the apps are running great especially when you've got a couple of iPads in the house.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterLA John
It may be over, but I think I will still watch on the weekend anyway.

Wonder how much airtime CBS will give Blixt/Bjorn pairing?
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterNo Longer
Don't fancy him as a great front runner.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRM
@BDF, Good point. Long way to go.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
A missed 2 footer on 1 tomorrow changes everything
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
Can't get over the comments that have called the first two rounds "boring". Certainly we aren't watching the same golf here.

Bubba's round, the whole back 9 that was featured on Masters.com, was scintillating TV. Five birdies in a row on a very tough golf course. He was in control and this course is definitely fitting for his game, if you don't think so ask Luke Donald who played 40 yards behind him off every tee today.

All that said 36 to go and as Phail showed us there is a triple waiting next to each green. All we need to see is Bubba's short putt flair up he had at TPC Scottsdale this year and it's wide open. Since my predictions went well today I'll give you my thoughts for tomorrow: Watson will shoot a 71 and have his lead narrow to two shots with a last pairing of him and Scott.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterChicago John
I agree with Geoff.
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterChico
Sane minds are stating some insane things here....I wouldn't mind a Bubba win, but really to say he's a lock halfway through the toonamint? There's a lot of golf yet to be played....

And....Go Aussies! just so we know where my heart lies)
04.11.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTrysil
No three putts in the past 291 holes?? That's like Tiger when he couldn't lose. Watson keeps that up noboby is going to catch him.
04.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan
Maybe this should have been "why bubba watson SHOULD win the Masters again".... he's got the tools okay, but there is a lot of golf yet to be played.
04.12.2014 | Unregistered Commenternospin
Beep beep beep. Bubba's a backing up...
04.12.2014 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I hate to say I told you so. Well, I don't, but I did.
04.12.2014 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Backing up purely due to putting! Had he kept his no 3-putt streak going he'd be 3 up.
04.13.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

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