AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Bubba Watson is an artist and he paints with a wedge.
His favorite color has been pink. He wore a white outfit with pink trim all this week at the Masters. He swung from the heels to pound out 300-yard drives with a pink driver.
His favorite color is now green.
Watson out-dueled Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of a sudden death playoff to win his first green jacket after they tied at 10-under-par 278 in the 76th Masters.
He won a few minutes before the sun set to the west behind the Georgia pines that had been alive with roars all afternoon -- a typical Sunday at the Masters that lingered later into the evening dripping with drama.
"I've never had a dream go this far," said Watson, who played at the University of Georgia. "I dreamed about it. I just never made the putt."
Oosthuizen hit the most memorable shot of the tournament in the warmth of the afternoon when he scored the fourth double-eagle in Masters history, making a 2 on hole No. 2 from 260 yards out.
"When something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it," Oosthuizen said. "That was my first double-eagle ever. It was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and play the course."
Watson eventually overcame the double-eagle not with power, or even accuracy, but artistry. Watson's drive on the second playoff hole sailed right and into pinestraw 153 yards from the center of the green. Watson had no direct line to the 10th green or the flagstick.
So the lefty hooked a 52-degree wedge through a small gap in the trees, bending 40 yards in the air and onto the green where it trickled to within 15 feet -- simply amazing and almost impossible to all.
"We had 135 to the front and 164 to the hole and I hooked it about 40 yards -- pretty easy," Watson said. "I always want to attack. I want to hit the incredible shot."
He did, and it won the tournament as Oosthuizen had his own problems and tapped in for a bogey to clear the stage for Watson's first major championship.
Watson nudged his first putt close and the gallery started to rise in ovation. He gave a wave and asked them to hold on a minute so he could double-check the final 6-inch putt.
He buried it. He cried on the shoulder of his mother, Molly, then embraced friends -- and competitors -- Rickie Fowler, Ben Crane and Aaron Baddeley.
Chants of "Bubba, Bubba, Bubba" erupted as the celebration moved back up the 10th fairway and toward the green jacket ceremony after the ninth playoff in tournament history since the Masters switched to sudden-death in 1976.
"Major champion -- think I'm done, right?" Watson said. "I mean, I can't do any better than this."
Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Peter Hanson and Phil Mickelson all tied for third at 8-under. Ian Poulter finished seventh. Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Padraig Harrington tied for eighth.
Almost all of the golfers who began the day within five shots of the lead became a potential winner at some point. But they all fizzled -- either due to the pressure or the difficulty of Augusta National.
Hanson, the third-round leader, struggled early with bogeys on two of his first three holes. While he remained within striking distance through most of the afternoon, he never really threatened.
"It was a pretty rough day," Hanson said. "I think I ended up being too defensive with the putter."
Kuchar had a share of the lead at 9 under but bogeyed No. 16 after flaring his tee shot to the far right side of the green. Westwood, who led after the first day, shot 4 under Sunday and was the first player to post 8 under. But it wasn't enough with Oosthuizen and Watson playing behind him.
Mickelson, one of the pre-tournament favorites, began one shot behind Hanson. Mickelson triple-bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole and could not recover.
"It's disappointing that I didn't grab that fourth green jacket," Mickelson said. "It was a fun day playing in the last group, a beautiful day at Augusta."
Watson began his charge with four straight birdies beginning on No. 13. He and Oosthuizen each parred the final two holes to set up their playoff. They both parred No. 18 on the first playoff hole and headed to No. 10 when Watson found himself working out of pinestraw and using the gallery to help line up his hook.
"I'm used to the woods," Watson said. "I'm used to the rough."
The final round was a beautiful day painted by a golfing artist wearing white and pink, and using cuts, fades, draws and hooks while picturing in his head a green jacket.
"As an athlete, as a golfer, this is the Mecca," Watson said. "This is what we strive for --to put on the green jacket."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...
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