As much as I was rooting for young Jordan Spieth to become the youngest ever and the first rookie winner of the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, I just had the feeling that the tournament was Bubba Watson’s to lose on Sunday based on the way he was hitting the ball the day before in the third round.
Watson shot a 74 during the third round that enabled Spieth to catch up with him that evening and set up the intriguing final-round duel. Honestly, I thought it could have easily been a 70 for the champion on Saturday. He was hitting the ball brilliantly, but his putter was stone cold and not only did he make a couple of three-putt pars on par-fives, he also missed at least a couple of birdie chances from inside 10 feet.
But on Sunday, Watson was not only hitting beautifully again, but also making the putts. And with none of his rivals making a charge on the back nine, he did not have to hit any magic shot this year to win the Green Jacket like he had to a couple of years ago against Louis Oosthuizen in the play-off hole.
I kept marvelling at the manner in which he brought the par-fives at Augusta National to their knees. The key to his win was how well he was hitting the driver. How good was the drive on the 13th hole on Sunday? To be left with a wedge into a par-five, especially one that is as tricky as the closing hole of Augusta National’s famous ‘Amen Corner’, is just awesome.
And even though it was Watson, who was basking in the glory on Sunday evening, absolutely nothing should be taken away from the efforts of the two rookies who finished tied second – Spieth and Jonas Blixt – and the evergreen Miguel Angel Jimenez, who was attempting to become the oldest Masters champion before finishing fourth eventually.
Spieth is getting most of the media coverage, which is understandable as he was the one in contention most of the time on Sunday, apart from the fact that he is an American and was chasing history as a 20-year-old. But Blixt was equally amazing. What I liked most about these two players was the incredible composure they showed during the entire tournament, and especially in the pressure situation on Sunday.
And what can you say about Jimenez? He proved once again that this golf course can either be overpowered the way Bubba did with his booming drives, or you can checkmate it with your brain. I thought the Spaniard was sensational throughout, and this once again strengthens his case as to why he should be in the European Ryder Cup team come September.
For the rest of the European Tour members, the season now gets into a regular flow with back-to-back events starting with the Malaysian Open this week. I am back on a golf course for the first time after the Dubai Desert Classic, and looking forward to see what my hard work in Dubai the last couple of weeks brings for me.
— Jeev Milkha Singh is a four-time champion on the European Tour