For all of the club-kicking drama and pre-tournament theatrics, golf—the actual art of putting the ball in the hole—has rarely been as exciting as it was Sunday at The Masters. Amazing shots sent shivers down the pleated, khaki-legged galley at Augusta National, with one last "shot of the day" putting an exclamation point on the year's first major. An exclamation point named "Bubba."
On the second hole of a sudden-death playoff, Watson snap-hooked a shot out of the pine straw—a la Phil Mickelson in 2010—to within 15 feet, leaving him with two putts to win over the South African and ever-smiling Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen himself had one of the most memorable shots in Masters history, when he holed out a 4-iron on the par-5 second hole for double-eagle. It was the fifth albatross in tournament history, and first on the second hole, as well as the first to be televised live.
Cue The Waterworks
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlory, and even Phil Mickelson seemed like an afterthought by mid-round Sunday at The Masters, with Watson and Louis Oosthuizen writing their own history. During the playoff Bubba and Louis owned 4 of the 10 trending topics, even Tim Tebow was tweeting at them. And with his lip quivering the moment his winning putt hit the bottom of the cup, Watson's tear ducts endeared himself to fans across the country (unlike another golfer we know.)
Bubba, 33, is a popular guy on tour, part of the new crop of younger, Christian players dubbed the God squad. So maybe it was the golf-gloved hand of God that lifted him to victory on Easter. Oosthuizen had his own gallery as well: his 90-1 odds left a lot of gamblers angry at the returns. And though it did little to shed golf's white guy image to have a man named Bubba win The Masters (his real name is Gerry), it's hard not to like a guy who uses a pink driver and chooses his wardrobe to help raise money for children's charities. He's also one of the longest hitters on tour, averaging nearly 320 yards in 2011.
Need one more reason to think he might be the next household name in golf? Bubba Watson owns the original General Lee from the Dukes of Hazard. As in the General Lee used in the opening credits. Cue the music.
Derek Evers is the publisher of Impose Magazine and a contributing writer for Golf Digest. He's writing about The Masters for Gothamist because your weekend editors aren't sure of what to make of this "golf."