What a Masters, what a final day and what a way to finish………
Going into the final day of the Masters and it was all setup to be a day of twists and turns and packed with excitement and boy did it deliver.
We had Peter Hanson one clear of the chasing pack that included Mickelson, Oosthuizen, Kuchar and Watson, as well as Harrington and Westwood who were a few shots further back. From early on it was clear that the leaderboard was not going to keep the same shape throughout the day and it was changing as soon as the first hole, with Peter Hanson dropping a shot to surrender the lead. The shot of the week and one that will go down in Masters history was that of Louis Oosthuizen, taking his second shot from the fairway on the par 5 second, he hit the perfect shot that not only found the green but caught the slope that guided it down towards the hole and from ten feet away it was never going anywhere else but in the hole. That Albatross would shoot him to the top of the leaderboard and give him a 3 shot cushion over the field. The par 3 fourth would prove decisive to Micklesons hopes of winning another masters, his tee shot ricocheting off the grandstand and finding the woods, with his ball buried under a bush he decided to try and play the ball out and got himself into all sorts of trouble, eventually taking a triple bogey six that he would not fully recover from.
Matt Kuchar made a charge at the leaders putting a great round together including an eagle to get to -9 and join the leaders but a 3 putt double bogey later in the round cost him dearly and he too lost his chance to win his maiden major.
Lee Westwood like we have seen so many times in the past totally dominated the field from tee to green but it was again his inability to hole putts that again cost him the chance to break his major duck, an 8 foot eagle attempt missed at a crucial time and a missed par putt from 2 feet were two standout examples of this.
Padraig Harrington showed signs of his major form from the past at one stage getting to -6 to get himself into the mix but he will also rue missed putts, missing at least four attempts for birdie from within 10 feet at vital times in his round, he would drop 2 shots on the way in to finish -4 among the middle group.
So that left Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen at the head of affairs, Oosthuizen had lead by 2 shots but like Schwartzel twelve months ago, Watson somehow found a birdie streak to pick up 4 on the trot down the back nine to join Oosthuizen at -10. Both held their nerve over the closing holes to finish tied after 72 holes and ensure a playoff would decide this years champion.
In the first playoff hole both had good birdie opportunities but both missed them by inches to send them down the tenth to see if we could separate them. On the tenth both pulled their tee shots, Watson finding the woods and Oosthuizen finding the rough when it looked initially like it could be worse. It was from here that the drama unfolded and we witnessed another magnificent shot that would in the end prove to be the winning shot. With Oosthuizen finding the bank in front of the green it was all eyes on Watson to see what he could do from deep in the woods, having to play the shot with a ridiculous amount of cut from left to right to have any chance of making the green. This is exactly what he did and somehow managed to leave the ball 12 feet from the hole and give himself a birdie opportunity. This was the game changer as Oosthuizen over hit his third shot to leave it at the back of the green and he then missed the par attempt to leave Watson with 2 putts for victory. He duly obliged and an emotional Bubba Watson was crowned Masters champion 2012.
In reflection, the Masters lived up to all expectations, it maybe did not centre around the players we had all predicted it would do, however in the end all the players that contended on Sunday were world class players and in a way we were not surprised with the leaderboard at the end as all have the ability and game to go close at the majors and that’s exactly what they did. So we have another maiden major champion and this years Masters again supports the claim that the level of competition in the world of golf has risen to an all time high, so many world stars can win on any given day and we no longer rely on a “select few” to promote the game of golf. The future of golf is clearly bright and promises to be so for many years to come.
Thanks for listening…………. Until next time