So another U.S. Masters at the awe inspiring Augusta National Golf Club comes to an end. As usual, the back 9 on Sunday signaled the start of the real action and what a finale it was again this year. I was awake early in my hotel room in Vietnam to watch the last couple of hours of coverage. The playoff between Louis “Mr Conventional” Oosthuizen and Bubba “self taught, every swing is completely different” Watson was just about to kick off as I agonisingly had to leave the hotel to catch a cab to the airport so I didn’t get to hear the result until I landed in Phu Quoc, a small island in the gulf of Thailand.
If ever there was an example of how there’s definitely more than one way to play this crazy game, the playoff at this years Masters tournament highlighted it once more. Whilst most golfers undoubtably admire the seemingly bullet proof rhythm, tempo and steely nerve of the sweet swinging South African, Bubba’s flamboyant, free swinging nature allows him more appeal to the general golfing public. Who else would dare turn up to the first tee with a neon pink driver? It helps of course that the long limbed lefty can wield his driver like no other in the game. Removing the head cover and hitting a soft fade down the fairway 250 yards wouldn’t have quite the same effect. Instead Watson has been known to hit 350 yard + bombs with more shape and slice than the average weekend hacker. The difference being that this years triumphant green jacket wearer manages to, in the main, control these incrediblely shaped shots.
I couldn’t help but notice the incredible focus Bubba shows when in contention at a golf tournament. Undoubtably a pretty laid back, fun guy off the course as he showed when he joined up with Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler & Hunter Mahan to record the Golf Boys hit(?) single Oh Oh Oh, he seems able to flip a switch when it really matters and get into what golf psychologists will call, the zone. It’s something I’ve noticed a lot of the top players do. Their ‘game face’ signals that they really mean business and are 100% absorbed in what they are doing at that exact moment in time. It’s something I need to work on for sure.
Bubba’s recovery from the trees on the second play off hole was incredible. As impressive as his length from the tee is at times, his ability to shape his golf shots on demand is a skill every golfer should spend time practicing on the driving range instead of trying to continually perfect the straight shots. I pride myself in being able to extract my golf ball from some pretty stinky situations out on the course at times so I really enjoyed watching this piece of skill at a time when it was needed the most. Whilst dressing like a caddy for four days wasn’t exactly my cup of tea I think this win may well be the start of things to come for the newly jacketed champ. I’m even going to re follow him on Twitter, I bet he’ll sleep easy tonight knowing that!
Right, I’ve got some relaxing on a beach to do…