Even in victory, Watson's heart was at home

8:33 PM, Apr 8, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Just after Bubba Watson sank his six-inch putt to win the Masters on Sunday, he began crying.

He hugged his caddie, body shaking from the sobs, and was soon joined by his mother and fellow players Ben Crane, Aaron Baddeley and Rickie Fowler.

But the two people who weren't there were the people Watson had been talking about all week -- his wife, Angie, and their new son, Caleb. It was hard not to realize how much they mean to him.

Watson and his wife adopted Caleb -- their first child -- two Mondays before the Masters began, and less than a week later, the left-hander was on his way to Augusta.

He didn't want to leave so soon, to fly in on Saturday like he normally does. He wanted to arrive on Wednesday at the last minute.

But his wife told him to go, pushed him to stick by his routine so he could practice on Sunday on an empty course. And so Bubba left, while his wife stayed in Florida with their son, sending pictures every so often.

Yet the distance remained, and in each interview Watson gave, it seemed like he was playing the Masters, one of the biggest tournaments of the year -- especially for a guy who went to the University of Georgia -- almost begrudgingly.

On Thursday, he said the tournament was "not that fun because my baby is home and I have to play in the Masters."

The next day, Watson described the Masters as "just a golf tournament." He said it would be nice to win a green jacket, but it wouldn't be a big deal if he lost.

"My son is at home, our new son is at home," Watson said. "Obviously, that is more important to me than trying to make a putt to win a golf tournament."

Little did he know, then.

Of course, Watson didn't exactly try to lose the Masters. He had carded a three-under 69 in the first round, and his 71 on Friday sent him into the weekend at four-under, a shot back of the lead. Watson fired a 70 on Moving Day to stay in contention.

And it would have been easy for Watson to pack it in Sunday, when he didn't get anything going immediately. He bogeyed his first hole, watched his playing partner Louis Oosthuizen double-eagle the second, and carded just two birdies on the front nine. After a bogey at the 12th, Watson fell back to minus-six.

But he was never too far from the lead, and birdied his next four holes to tie Oosthuizen atop the leaderboard. Suddenly, the Masters turned from a tournament he had to play, into a tournament he could win. He had a chance to earn his first major victory.

After he and Oosthuizen parred their final two holes, Watson -- the guy who had to be pushed out the door to the Masters -- would have to wait a little longer.

As it turned out, Watson earned the victory in an electrifying playoff. He came up with a shot for the ages on the second extra hole, the 10th, when he blasted his second out of the trees and within 10 feet of the hole. Oosthuizen's par putt just barely missed, giving Watson two putts to win. He missed his first, but with emotions swirling, tapped in his second try.

It would have been quicker for Watson had he lost. He could have shaken Oosthuizen's hand, done a press conference, and been on his way. He wouldn't have had to take a trip to Butler Cabin, wouldn't have had to address the fans wearing the green jacket, wouldn't have had to hold back the tears as he was asked about his wife and son.

Prior to Sunday, Watson could only think and dream of winning the Masters.

And prior to Sunday, Watson could only think and dream of being with his wife and son.

On Sunday, he made the first a reality. And now, after a long day and with green jacket around his shoulders, Bubba can go home.


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