The 2014 Masters championship is over and your champion for the year is Bubba Watson…em…I think I’ve made a mistake…hm…nope it was Bubba Watson…really? Bubba Watson is a two time Masters champion? Who would have thunk it?
I’m being harsh because I don’t think that there is anyone who can genuinely say that Bubba didn’t deserve to win the tournament, after all he went out with the lead in the final round and shot the third best round of the day, whilst all his competitors struggled to handle the green grass of Augusta. You’ve heard it many times over I’m sure, but Augusta is made for Bubba’s game, however did anyone seriously think that this man was capable of winning one major, never mind two? I honestly doubt it. I have to applaud Bubba for going out and proving all his doubters wrong (and oh god there were many), everything about Bubba’s game is wrong, but when he plays like he did in the last round (11 one putts) and the entire tournament to be fair, you start to think that maybe that’s how golf is meant to be played…probably not though.
As far as Blubba’s (you know it was going to show up eventually) nearest challengers go, the only one who can really be slightly disappointed with how things turned out in the end is Jordan Spieth. After the 7th Spieth had a two shot lead over the field, and two holes later he was two strokes behind. That would be demoralising for any golfer, imagine how tough it will be for a twenty year old playing in his first Masters. There is no doubting in my mind that Spieth will win a major in the future, and he didn’t blow the Masters but rather Bubba won it, hopefully he will be able to build on his excellent performance this past week and develop his massive potential.
Jonas Blixt is in a similar position to Spieth, in the sense that he should be very pleased with his second place finish in the Masters, especially after shooting four rounds under par (only player to do so). Blixt showed remarkable consistency over the week, and may come out of it disappointed that he didn’t take more of the chances which he gave himself. Blixt’s game seems perfect for the US Open, so he could be an early outside chance for the next major, he certainly has the game for it.
Miguel Angel Jimenez shot the best round of the week and finished 4th in a major at 50, yes 50, the guy plays in the senior tour. Think about how remarkable that is, he is still playing golf at a top level and he is in his fifties and smokes like a chimney. Freak of nature indeed. Jimenez will know that his chances of winning majors are all too limited, so may be disappointed with how things went, but I think based on the grand scheme of things he will be very happy as he pushes towards booking his place in the Ryder Cup, and incredible feat at his age.
The rest of Bubba’s competitors flattered to deceive; once again I’m sure that guys like Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar, Thomas Bjorn and Jim Furyk will all be disappointed that they put themselves in a position to challenge on the last day but never actually did. I think that Bubba won the tournament, but if one of these guys’ posts a score of -7 or even -6, maybe Bubba’s driving doesn’t hold up as well, maybe Bubba doesn’t sink those tricky par putts. There is nothing worse for a golfer to look up at the scoreboard and see that some guy is creeping up on them and then has posted a solid score, Bubba never had to worry about that because nobody in front of him was scoring well when it mattered and Spieth clearly had lost his head.
Pre-tournament I made my five tips for the Masters picks, generally betting each way. They were Jordan Spieth (T-2nd), Jamie Donaldson (T-14th), Jason Day (T-20th), Louis Oosthuizen (25th) and Brandt Snedeker (T-37th). I said when I made my tips that I didn’t really like the odds for the tournament as I felt there was no real value and also that there seemed to be no clear favourite, which was backed up by the final leader board. I pretty much broke even for the week because I had Spieth each way, but I was disappointed with Snedeker who I really thought had a great chance of going out and winning the tourney.
Overall I thought that the first major of the year was another good week of golf. I was a little disappointed that what looked to be a very exciting last day right up till the turn of the final round, ended up being a little bit under whelming, but at least we got a winner who went out and won the tournament, and I congratulate Bubba for doing so.
Did the Masters miss Tiger Woods? Every tournament misses Tiger Woods when he isn’t there; it just feels like a bigger deal if he is in the field. Hopefully he will be back for the US Open, and hopefully he can get the monkey off his back and actually win a major this season.