Watson follows Seve route to glory

In tennis, you basically know what you are going to get when a grand slam tournament comes around.

Andy Murray looks as if he might win, but then Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer takes the title. Only once in the last 28 grand slams has that not been the case.

In golf, you simply do not have a clue what is going to happen next.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Big-hitting Bubba Watson’s victory at the Masters makes it 14 different winners of the last 14 majors.

The last eight of them had never won one before. None of the others play the sport in anything like the way that the 33-year-old American left-hander does.

“We always joked about Bubba Golf,” said Watson after his remarkable hooked shot out of the trees beat South African Louis Oosthuizen at the second play-off hole in Augusta.

“I always attack. I don’t like to go to the centre of the greens – I want to hit the incredible shot.

“Who doesn’t? That’s why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot. Truthfully, it’s like Seve (Ballesteros) played. He hit shots that were unbelievable.”

The late Ballesteros was a two-time Masters champion.

“If you watch Phil Mickelson, he goes for broke and that’s why he wins so many times. He’s not afraid,” said Watson.

Where Watson is different to Ballesteros and Mickelson and everyone else, though, is in how much shape he puts on the ball all the time.

But he sees method in what others might view as madness.

“I can hit it straight, it’s just it’s easier to see curves. I remember Jack Nicklaus said he wanted to aim at the centre of the green and get the ball drifting towards the hole when he played Augusta.

“That’s the way I like to play all the golf courses, not just Augusta.

“I don’t play the game for fame. I’m just Bubba – I goof around, I joke around. I just want to be me and play golf.

“A few years ago I was living the wrong way. Every golf shot was controlling how mad I got. My wife and caddie told me that I was going the wrong way. If I’m going to live my life as a Christian you can’t live your life that way and so I had to change.

“It’s a slow process, but I’ve been working hard and hopefully in the years to come it gets better and better.”

The disappointment of losing was softened for Oosthuizen by the fact that he won the 2010 Open at St Andrews and that he had produced what may prove to be the shot of the year.

When his 253-yard four-iron to the long second ran into the hole for the first albatross there in Masters history, he leapt from two behind into the lead.

There he stayed but Watson had four successive birdies from the 13th to catch him and make it an Easter Sunday to remember.

Joint third were England’s Lee Westwood, Swede Peter Hanson and two more Americans, Mickelson and Matt Kuchar.

Three-time winner Mickelson finished two behind despite triple bogeys at the 10th in his opening 74 and the fourth in a closing 72.

Pre-tournament favourites Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy tied for 40th and for Woods it was his worst finish in the event as a professional.

How they finished at Augusta...

Final round scores & totals (USA unless stated, par 72):

278 B Watson 69 71 70 68 (Watson won at second play-off hole), L Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 72 69 69

280 P Mickelson 74 68 66 72, P Hanson (Swe) 68 74 65 73, M Kuchar 71 70 70 69, L Westwood (Eng) 67 73 72 68

283 I Poulter (Eng) 72 72 70 69

284 J Rose (Eng) 72 72 72 68, A Scott (Aus) 75 70 73 66, P Harrington (Irl) 71 73 68 72

285 J Furyk 70 73 72 70

286 H Mahan 72 72 68 74, K Na 71 75 72 68, G McDowell (NIrl) 75 72 71 68, S Garcia (Spa) 72 68 75 71, F Couples 72 67 75 72

287 B Crane 69 73 72 73, B Van Pelt 73 75 75 64

288 F Molinari (Ita) 69 75 70 74, F Jacobson (Swe) 76 68 70 74, G Ogilvy (Aus) 74 72 71 71, B Snedeker 72 75 68 73, C Howell III 72 70 74 72

289 J Dufner 69 70 75 75, A Hansen (Den) 76 72 73 68, P Lawrie (Sco) 69 72 72 76

290 K Bradley 71 77 73 69, V Singh (Fij) 70 72 76 72, S Stallings 70 77 70 73, J Byrd 72 71 72 75, R Fowler 74 74 72 70

291 N Watney 71 71 72 77, S O’Hair 73 70 71 77, Z Johnson 70 74 75 72, A Cabrera (Arg) 71 78 71 71, L Donald (Eng) 75 73 75 68

292 B Haas 72 74 76 70, S Bae (Kor) 75 71 69 77, T Bjorn (Den) 73 76 74 69

293 A Baddeley (Aus) 71 71 77 74, R McIlroy (NIrl) 71 69 77 76, T Woods 72 75 72 74, H Stenson (Swe) 71 71 70 81

294 M Kaymer (Ger) 72 75 75 72, K Chappell 71 76 71 76, W Simpson 72 74 70 78

295 S Stricker 71 77 72 75, R Fisher (Eng) 71 77 73 74, Patrick Cantlay 71 78 74 72

296 R Karlsson (Swe) 74 74 77 71, C Schwartzel (Rsa) 72 75 75 74, David Toms 73 73 75 75, Stewart Cink 71 75 81 69

297 H Matsuyama (Jpn) 71 74 72 80, S Verplank 73 75 75 74

298 MA Jimenez (Spa) 69 72 76 81

299 M Laird (Sco) 76 72 74 77, YE Yang (Kor) 73 70 75 81, E Molinari (Ita) 75 74 76 74

301 T Immelman (Rsa) 78 71 76 76

302 G Fdez-Castano (Spa) 74 75 76 77

306 K Kraft 74 75 77 80

Leading world rankings:

1 L Donald (Eng) 9.61pts, 2 R McIlroy (NIrl) 9.53, 3 L Westwood (Eng) 8.23, 4 B Watson (USA) 6.53, 5 H Mahan (USA) 5.89, 6 S Stricker (USA) 5.64, 7 M Kaymer (Ger) 5.58, 8 T Woods (USA) 5.54, 9 P Mickelson (USA) 5.31, 10 J Rose (Eng) 5.28. Other: 37 S Dyson (Eng) 3.02