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|The Players Championship moves to a three-hole playoff [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 16, 2014, 9:38 am]
It's been known for years as the unofficial fifth major of the year, and the Players Championship made a move on Wednesday that will make it seem even more like a major starting this season. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that the Players would move to a three-hole playoff format starting this year, meaning if the Players Championship is tied after 72 holes, it won't just be sudden death like every other non-major PGA Tour event. The holes will be 16-18, meaning the three most famous holes at TPC Sawgrass will be on display in a playoff if it comes down to that, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it. In previous years we've seen players go directly to the par-3 17th if there was a playoff, which is obviously one of the most iconic holes in golf but not necessarily the most fair to play once with this huge title on the line. Now, with a par-5 before and a par-4 after, it will allow players a loose swing without it dooming their chances at the huge Players purse. The Players joins the PGA Championship with their three-hole playoff idea. The British Open plays a four-hole playoff, the U.S. Open goes 18 holes on Monday if the tournament is tied and the Masters remains the only major that plays their extra holes in a sudden death format.
Bubba Watson left a sweet tip at the Waffle House, Steak n' Shake [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 15, 2014, 3:27 pm]
Bubba Watson hit the Waffle House after winning the Masters. You already know this. But further details of his post-green-jacket journey are beginning to seep out, and they verify the fact that Watson is most definitely the people's choice among golfers. The Augusta Chronicle is reporting that Watson hit an Augusta Steak & Shake for shakes arond midnight, then followed that up with the Waffle House visit. (His order: double grilled chese and scattered and covered hash browns.) According to the Chronicle's sources, Watson left a $24 tip at Steak & Shake and a $148 tip at the Waffle House. Generous, but then again, he'd just won $1.6 million a few miles up the road. He can probably afford it. ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter. Follow @jaybusbee
John Daly hits a golf ball teed up in a woman's mouth [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 15, 2014, 11:55 am]
John Daly might be 10 years removed from his last PGA Tour win, but that hasn't stopped him from making the headlines. After posting a 90 earlier this year on the PGA Tour, Daly spoke before the Masters about how he was sworn off alcohol and uses Diet Coke as a means to avoid drinking. And he also does stuff like this video below, where a woman (I'm assuming it's Anna Cladakis because he tagged her in the tweet) allowed Daly to swing a full driver with the ball teed up in her mouth. The video is incredible, her reaction is exactly what it should be, and John Daly continues to be John Daly, no matter the circumstance.
Report: Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be the featured broadcasting group for the 2015 U.S. Open [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 15, 2014, 11:07 am]
The 2014 U.S. Open is just two months away, but with NBC having the second major championship of the year for the last time, we are already looking ahead at what Fox is planning to do when they debut their golf coverage in 2015. The latest announcement is an interesting one, as sources are telling Sports Business Journal that Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be the featured broadcasting group when the network turns to golf. Norman, a two-time major champion, never won the U.S. Open, but competed in it 19 times, finishing second in 1984 and 1995. Buck, the man that seems to do it all for Fox, has never broadcasted golf but is apparently a scratch golfer who seems to be versatile enough to do just about anything the network asks. The team is definitely going to be a different feel from what we've come to expect from the NBC team. Johnny Miller, who can get under viewer's skin at times with his pointed comments and thoughts back to his own accomplishments, is one of the most knowledgeable golf announcers out there, and Dan Hicks always seems to handle himself as a professional and do a solid job in the booth on the 18th. Buck and Norman will be a new team broadcasting the second biggest golf tournament of the entire year on a golf course that has never hosted the U.S. Open, so if nothing else, it will be a debut for all involved when the golf world turns to Chambers Bay in 14 months.
The Bacon Mailbag: Bubba's green jacket count, Spieth's future and lefty-proofing Augusta National [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 15, 2014, 10:40 am]
Each week for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ... @shanebacon how many green jackets does BW end up with?â Tim (@tim201200) April 14, 2014 Bacon: It's quite remarkable how Augusta National plays into certain player's hands. It's a golf course that has history, sure, but it seems to also pick favorites. We've seen Jack Nicklaus dominate there, Arnold Palmer have major success at Augusta and then random names like Nick Faldo and Ben Crenshaw, who just seem to understand what it takes to play well, and play consistent, at Augusta National. Bubba Watson seems like the guy of this generation to "get" this golf course. He already has two green jackets in just six career starts at Augusta National, and at the age of 35, still has a full decade of being competitive and hitting the ball a country mile (sometimes, literally). So, I'm putting the over/under on green jackets at 3.5, and I'm taking the under. I think Bubba will win one more Masters for sure, getting in some seriously elite company with just eight other players that have won this tournament three or more times. The reason I don't see four in his future is simply because only Nicklaus, Palmer and Tiger Woods have been able to accomplish that feat. I think history will play against Bubba if and when he gets to three green jackets, and landing that fourth will be the hardest of them all for him. If I had to pick anyone right now to get a fourth green jacket, I would go Phil over Bubba just because I think Mickelson has a better chance of being in contention every year at this tournament until he turns 50 (and possibly well after that). Of course, a lot of this depends on the next mailbag question we will tackle. @shanebacon Do you see any "Lefty-Proof" plans in Augusta's
The Masters showed us one thing; it's still okay to enjoy golf without Tiger Woods around [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 2:31 pm]
On Sunday afternoon, on a beautiful day at Augusta National, a 20-year-old kid was trying to do something that no 20-year-old kid has ever done. Jordan Spieth, a kid ranked 810th in the world a season ago, was continuing his run on professional golf, the Masters records and basically anything that had to do with the misnomer that kids can't dominate this game. But there was one problem with all that. Tiger Woods wasn't at Augusta National. How do those two things have anything to do with each other? I'm not sure, but apparently they do. That is what seems to be the consensus this Monday about the 2014 Masters . "This tournament was boring!" "Where was Tiger?!" "How can anyone watch this without the two biggest names in the world in contention?" The thing is, if you looked past all that screaming and focused simply on the golf tournament at hand, you probably enjoyed yourself. Sure, the back nine on Sunday wasn't exactly the '86 Masters, but the front nine was full of fireworks that had people from all walks of life turning their televisions to CBS to see just what the heck was going on. A 20-year-old might win the Masters. A guy that has never had a lesson might win two. A Swede with a goofy glove and great touch around the greens could steal it from everyone. Oh, and what about Fred Couples?! The problem with golf these days, myself included, is that we spend so much time wondering about Tiger Woods that we forget to enjoy the actual moment. You've heard of "stop and smell the flowers"? Well, what about the azaleas? Tiger Woods will turn 39 in December. He isn't some young gun anymore out there shooting for history. Woods is a man that has been up against scandal, the media, swing coaches and now his own body. He isn't the guy we used to see go out and rip driver past everyone on Earth, smiling because he knew that putt he had to make was going to drop even before we did. The 2014 Masters might have dipped in the ratings without Woods around, and might have left us
Tiger Woods' friend, Notah Begay, thinks Tiger won't be ready for the U.S. Open [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 1:22 pm]
For golf fans, the Masters is always one of the best sports weekends of the year, but the random fan was probably missing something over the weekend. Tiger Woods wasn't playing for the first time since 1994, missing out because of back surgery that has him sidelined indefinitely, and that hiatus could extend, according to one pal of Woods. Notah Begay, a four-time PGA Tour winner and Tiger's teammate at Stanford, chatted with CBS Radio on Monday and said he doesn't think Tiger will make it to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open. Here is what Begay, an analyst for Golf Channel, said on the radio. âIâve been in contact with (Tiger) this week. He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament, (but) I think he needs to give (his back) a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesnât run the risk of re-injuring it. So that would push him past the U.S. Open.â Personally, I think Tiger timed this surgery so that he would have a chance to return for the British Open. This year the Open Championship is being played at Royal Liverpool for the first time since 2006, when Woods hit stinger after stinger on his way to a two-shot victory over Chris DiMarco. If Tiger is going to get another major win, his best chance is the British Open, and the fact that Hoylake seems to set up perfectly for the way he plans major courses these days, it makes the most sense for him to have that as the perfect major to set his return. That said, who really knows when Woods will return. Tiger will turn 39 this December, meaning he is past that prime age to win major championships, so picking a perfect return date is almost as important as fine-tuning his golf swing. - - - - - - - Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @ShaneBacon!
Fresh off the opening major of the year, here are the U.S. Open odds [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 1:07 pm]
We aren't even a full day past the conclusion of the Masters, but as the world turns so does our interest into the next big event on the golf calendar. The U.S. Open, which kicks off June 12 at Pinehurst #2, might be a couple of months away, but that doesn't mean we can't take a look and see who the early favorite is at the second major championship of 2014. Rory McIlroy, the 2011 U.S. Open winner, is the favorite alongside Tiger Woods, who we aren't even sure will be playing in two months after having surgery that forced him to miss out on the Masters. The rest of the odds are below, so check out the numbers on some of the big names (Bubba Watson is 25-to-1), courtesy of Bovada, and let us know in the comments who you think is the best value on the very early U.S. Open board. Rory McIlroyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10/1 Tiger WoodsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 10/1Â Â Â Â Â (Note:Â If Tiger doesnât play, you would get refunded) Adam ScottÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 12/1 Phil MickelsonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 16/1 Henrik StensonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 22/1 Justin RoseÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 22/1 Bubba WatsonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 25/1 Jason DayÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 25/1 Jordan SpiethÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 25/1 Matt KucharÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 28/1 Dustin JohnsonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 33/1 Graeme McDowellÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 33/1 Lee WestwoodÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 33/1 Zach JohnsonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 33/1 Brandt SnedekerÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 40/1 Charl SchwartzelÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 40/1 Hunter MahanÂ
Check out the incredible world ranking rise of Jordan Spieth [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 10:04 am]
Jordan Spieth might only be 20 years old, but nobody is going to disagree that he's the real deal. His T-2 finish at the Masters is the best finish ever by someone his age, and while he didn't walk away with the green jacket on Sunday evening, he showed the world that he isn't just some kid that holed a bunker shot at the John Deere and disappeared forever. Just over a year ago, Spieth was ranked 810th in the world, had no status on any professional tour and was trying to earn his card the old fashioned way, but landing sponsor invites into tournaments and trying to earn enough money to land inside the top-125 on the money list. Spieth, of course, won a PGA Tour event, earning a two-year exemption, and played well enough to not only earn one of the captain's picks from Fred Couples at the 2013 Presidents Cup, but pick up Rookie of the Year honors on the PGA Tour. This graph helps explain just how fast Spieth has moved up in the world rankings, and tells all you need to know about the talent and future of Jordan Spieth.
Check out the incredible world-ranking rise of Jordan Spieth [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 10:04 am]
Jordan Spieth might only be 20 years old, but nobody is going to disagree that he's the real deal. His T-2 finish at the Masters is the best finish ever by someone his age, and while he didn't walk away with the green jacket on Sunday evening, he showed the world that he isn't just some kid that holed a bunker shot at the John Deere and disappeared forever. Just over a year ago, Spieth was ranked 810th in the world, had no status on any professional tour and was trying to earn his card the old-fashioned way, by landing sponsor invites into tournaments and trying to earn enough money to land inside the top-125 on the money list. Spieth, of course, won a PGA Tour event, earning a two-year exemption, and played well enough to not only earn one of the captain's picks from Fred Couples at the 2013 Presidents Cup, but also pick up Rookie of the Year honors on the PGA Tour. This graph helps explain just how fast Spieth has moved up in the world rankings, and tells all you need to know about the talent and future of Jordan Spieth. Â - - - - - - - Check out what's buzzing on the Yahoo Sports Minute:
Masters ratings down from 2013 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 9:46 am]
With no Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or late round drama, the ratings for the 2014 Masters took a dip compared to a season ago. The final round on Sunday got a 7.8 rating, down from the 10.2 rating that the Masters got on Sunday in 2013. If you remember, the final round a season ago was high drama, with Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera battling for that green jacket as names like Jason Day and Marc Leishman pushed hard to get themselves in the mix. Scott, of course, made a lengthy birdie putt on the 72nd hole only to be answered by Cabrera, with Scott making a similar putt on the first playoff hole for a birdie and a first green jacket. This past Sunday had plenty of drama on the front nine, but it was the back nine that seemed to drag on as Watson was improving his lead with Jordan Spieth making some bogeys and finding the water on the par-3 12th. The ratings for the third round were also down from 2013, landing a 4.4 rating compared to the 6.3 that the third round received a season ago. You can point the finger at the absence of Tiger or the missed cut by Phil, but it really just boils down to the fact that the final two hours of the Masters didn't provide a ton of fireworks, with the only drama being just how Watson would finish out his round on the 18th green. - - - - - - - Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @ShaneBacon!
Winners and losers from the 2014 Masters [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 8:23 am]
This past weekend saw a lot of great story lines and we are here to give you the good and the bad of it. Here are our winners and losers from the past week in golf. Winners Bubba Watson â Not only did he win his second Masters in three years, but he did it by absolutely dominating Augusta National. This guy sees golf shots that most others can't even think of (check his drive on the 13th on Sunday), and he's able to work the ball so well at Augusta National that it seems from here on out he should be one of the favorites when the tour gets to Georgia each season. Bubba's second Masters win just shows that while he can get in his own way at times on the golf course, he is as talented as anyone on the PGA Tour, and when the putts are dropping, he can win any tournament on any golf course in the world (especially Augusta National). Jordan Spieth â The 20-year-old didn't win on Sunday, but his play all week gained him a ton of fans and allowed the world to see what the golfing public has been enjoying for the past 13 months. Spieth is years ahead of his age, and while he did seem to get frustrated on the back nine on Sunday, I took it more as a competitor trying so hard to win and not a young kid getting upset with himself when things weren't going his way. Spieth is going to win a major, and soon, so make sure to pencil his name in when figuring out your picks at Pinehurst. Jonas Blixt â The 29-year-old Swede has won on the PGA Tour each of the last two seasons, and his play in the last two major championships show he's not just ready to contend, but ready to win one of these sooner than later (he finished fourth alone at the PGA). Blixt said after his round that he loved the environment, didn't get overly nervous and is ready to be there again, the words you want to hear from a guy after his first real shot at a major championship. Bernhard Langer â The fanfare followed Fred Couples around all weekend at Augusta National, but it was a 56-year-old Langer who wa
Does Bubba Watson get two green jackets as a multiple Masters champion? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 8:15 am]
Bubba Watson won his second Masters title in three years at Augusta National on Sunday, joining a very elite group of guys that have been able to take down Augusta multiple times. It was an incredible accomplishment for a guy that has only two other top-10s in all the majors combined, and his win brought about a few questions about the history of the Masters. First, does Bubba get a second green jacket to go along with the one he received in 2012? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Augusta National awards you one green jacket after your first win, and if you win any other Masters after that, you get that same jacket presented to you. The difference with the win is that you're allowed to take your green jacket home for an entire year, eventually returning it to Augusta National when the next Masters begins (they keep the jackets in house, and allow you to wear them when you're on the grounds). So, someone like Jack Nicklaus doesn't have six different green jackets to pick from, just one jacket that accounts for all his wins at the opening major championship of the year (and you'll love this story about Nicklaus not even having his own green jacket until 1998). And if Bubba is lucky enough to win the Masters in 2015, who will present him with the green jacket if he goes back-to-back? That honor is bestowed on the chairman of Augusta National at the time, who would be Billy Payne if Bubba was able to pull off that incredible accomplishment. As you see below, Tiger Woods received his 2002 Masters green jacket from Hootie Johnson, the chairman of Augusta National at the time, after his back-to-back win at Augusta. Â
The Masters meets a miniature golf course and the results are intriguing [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 7:52 am]
The last thing professional golfers need are another challenge on the putting greens. They already must deal with sadistic pin placements, speeds akin to putting in a bathtub and the occasional bout of the yips. But watch the excellent video from YouTube user Simon Connor above and tell us you wouldn't mind seeing the odd clown's mouth or windmill on a green to spice up a major tournament. With how boring the back nine got during the final round of the Masters, we could've used Bubba Watson putting through a mini volcano.Â Especially if we all could have gone for ice cream after.Â - - - - - - - Kevin Kaduk is a writer for
Bubba Watson hits Waffle House after Masters win. Of course he does. [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 14, 2014, 6:17 am]
Where else would Bubba Watson go after winning the Masters but the Waffle House? At about 1:30 in the morning, Watson, his wife Angie and several friends hit a Waffle House somewhere near Augusta National to celebrate. Champ dinner @WaffleHouse! #hashbrowns #covered pic.twitter.com/rXuaHtXqj5â bubba watson (@bubbawatson) April 14, 2014 Â You can't tell if he's wearing the green jacket in that photo, but fear not, lords of Augusta National: Bubba did not get scattered n' smothered hash browns on the revered fabric. Here's another angle from a friend: Waffle House with the Masters Champ! #wemadeit #twogreenjackets pic.twitter.com/bMwzPGFpWGâ Judah Smith (@judahsmith) April 14, 2014 Â It's reminiscent of the time in 2010 when Phil Mickelson took his kids to a nearby Krispy Kreme while wearing the green jacket: True, Jack and Arnie didn't do this sort of thing. But you know they wanted to. ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter. Follow @jaybusbee
The yin and yang of Bubba Watson [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 13, 2014, 7:49 pm]
AUGUSTA, Ga. â A crowd of thousands had gathered around the practice green at Augusta, standing ten deep and leaning over the railing of the clubhouse's famous verandah. Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, was in the midst of introducing dozens of representatives of golf associations from around the world. Adam Scott, defending champion, looked every bit as smooth as he ever does. A sea of green jackets flanked them all. And in the middle of it all, the man of the hour, the one for whom all this pomp and circumstance was necessary, sat up straight, fingers steepled on his knees, looking exactly like a fidgety kid waiting outside the principal's office. Bubba Watson, 2014 Masters champion, is an absolute mess of contradictions that somehow come together to form a world-beating whole. Start right at the very top: This is a guy named "Bubba" who's won the most prestigious golf tournament on Earth not once, but twice. "Bubba" is a name for the guys who spent the weekend at the NASCAR race over in Darlington, not for gentlemen of means who gather beneath the majestic oaks and towering pines of Augusta National. With his three-stroke victory at Augusta on Sunday, he's joined elite company; only 17 men have won more than one green jacket. He's played in six Masters and won two of them; only two men have done that faster. He claims he's never had a golf lesson in his life, and his tumbling swing seems to bear that out, and yet he's one of the best in the world. [Slideshow: Bubba Watson claims his second green jacket] This shouldn't come as a surprise, really. We â fans, media, sponsors â pigeonhole athletes based on one or two primary-color attributes. Good guys/bad guys. Outgoing/ introverted. Focused/lazy. Winners/losers. Bubba sprawls across all lines. He's a rail-thin guy from Bagdad, Fla., who can drive the ball into a different time zone. He makes the kind of ridiculous decisions on the golf course that you make with your buddies when you say, "Hey, watch
2014 Masters Day 4 Recap: Bubba wins again [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 13, 2014, 5:08 pm]
In almost every Masters it's the back nine that provides the fireworks. It's where the par-5s either make or break a chance at a green jacket, and the 12th looms for any player that doesn't hit an absolutely precise golf shot. This Sunday was different. It was the front nine where everything happened. It was where Jordan Spieth took command of the Masters in an attempt to be the youngest winner ever at Augusta National. It was where Fred Couples made early birdies as he started the day four shots back, the same deficit that Jack Nicklaus faced in 1986 before he won his sixth green jacket. And the front nine was where Bubba Watson showed that he was going to be in command of this golf tournament no matter what Spieth threw at him. Bubba curled in a birdie putt on No. 6, and was able to get it up and down for birdie on the par-5 8th. It was the birdie on the ninth that really separated Bubba, and from there he simply cruised to a three-shot victory. The second win at Augusta puts Bubba in some elite class, and it shows that with his power and ability to move the golf ball, he will be a factor at the Masters for years to come. Â The two themes coming from the 2014 Masters will be Bubba's second green jacket and how tough this 20-year-old really is. Spieth didn't have his best stuff on Sunday, but he still posted an even-par round of 72 that was good enough for a T-2. It wasn't exactly what Spieth wanted when he teed it up on Sunday afternoon, but it will be an experience he can lean back on the next time he's in contention at a major championship, which will most likely be sooner than later. Of all the players chasing Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth, it seemed that someone like Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar or Rickie Fowler could put the heat on that final group. All three of those names failed to do so, shooting over-par final rounds that allowed Bubba a smooth walk home to a second green jacket. You could make a case for the par-5 8th hole, or even the famous 12th, wh
Bubba Watson joins an elite list with his second Masters win [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 13, 2014, 4:35 pm]
The win on Sunday by Bubba Watson, his second Masters victory in the last three years, was incredibly impressive, and it puts him in some very, very accomplished company. Many people have finished their careers with only one Masters win, but only a select few have been able to win this tournament a second time. Check out the list that Bubba joined on Sunday with his second green jacket: Jack Nicklaus ('63, 65, 66, 72, 75, 86) Arnold Palmer (58, 60, 62, 64) Tiger Woods (97, 01, 02, 05) Jimmy Demaret (40, 47, 50) Sam Snead (49, 52, 54) Gary Player (61, 74, 78) Nick Faldo (89, 90, 96) Phil Mickelson (04, 06, 10) Horton Smith (34, 36) Byron Nelson (37, 42) Ben Hogan (51, 53) Tom Watson (77, 81) Seve Ballesteros (80, 83) Bernhard Langer (85, 93) Ben Crenshaw (84, 95) Jose Maria Olazabal (94, 99) Bubba Watson (12, 14) Â Now that is a group you want to be included in. What an incredible two year run for Bubba Watson at Augusta National. Â
Bubba Watson wins Masters in relentless, efficient fashion [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 13, 2014, 4:32 pm]
AUGUSTA, Ga. â On Saturday night, just after finishing his round, Bubba Watson offered up a curious quote about the pressure of playing for a Masters championship: "If I shoot 90 tomorrow I still have a green jacket," he said, "so it's not as bad." Not exactly the go-for-the-throat line you'd expect, but then, Watson hasn't ever done much in the game of golf in the expected fashion. So it's perfectly in keeping with his life and style that a guy who once wanted to drive the General Lee up Magnolia Lane became just the 17th man to win more than one Masters. His performance on Sunday lacked the dramatic playoff heroics of his first win, back in 2012, but the fact that Watson was able to hold onto a lead throughout the tournament speaks to his growth as a golfer. He shrugged off an early bogey on No. 3, wasn't phased by two Jordan Spieth birdies putting him two shots behind, and wound up firing a 3-under 69, enough for a three-stroke win over the 20-year-old Spieth and Jonas Blixt. This Masters began with what would be a death knell to most other tournaments: no Tiger Woods. Out for a still-indefinite period of time following back surgery, Woods remained the story for much of the first part of the week. How much would ratings decline? (Plenty.) Would Tiger ever win another major? (To be determined.) Would Woods dominate coverage from hundreds of miles away? (Nope.) And then the actual golf began. After the traditional crew of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player began the 78th Masters with the ceremonial tee shots (Nicklaus outdrove Player by a yard), another name with some golf pedigree claimed the early lead. Bill Haas rode out a surprisingly rough Thursday to post a 4-under. Haas couldn't hold the lead, however, and fell back to the pack by the weekend. Defending champion Adam Scott didn't fare much better, never really able to get going to any measurable degree. Rory McIlroy was the last player to make the cut, and for his efforts ended up getting beaten by his own marker
Jordan Spieth holes bunker shot to take the lead at the Masters [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 13, 2014, 1:43 pm]
If you're looking for a reason to think Jordan Spieth could really become the youngest winner of the Masters ever, it might have come on the par-3 4th hole. Spieth, who birdied the par-5 second hole but had struggled to find the fairway early in his final round, hit his tee shot on the par-3 4th hole in the front bunker and had a tough shot to get it up and down and save par. The youngster just needed the "up" part of that, holing the shot for an unexpected birdie and an extended Masters lead. It was one of those shots we tend to see on the final day of the Masters, and the sort of birdie that could propel him to his first ever major championship. Follow the leaderboard right here for the remainder of the day, as we get set to crown a new Masters champion in just a few hours. - - - - - - - Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @ShaneBacon!