AUGUSTA, Ga. — Leave it to Bubba Watson to sum up the seven-over-par 10 he made on the 155-yard 12th hole in Sunday’s final round of the Masters.
“If you’re not going to win, you’ve got to get in the record books somehow,” said the 2012 champion. “When you look back at this week, I had nine three-putts, three balls in the water on 11 and a 10. So when you add it all up, a tie for 50th is pretty good.”
Actually, Tom Weiskopf holds the record high score on No. 12, a 13 in the 1980 Masters.
“You know, it took me until three years ago to make my first hole-in-one. And you’re going to go the other way, as well. Today was just my day,” said Watson, who shot 77 for a 295 total, and only beat eight players who made the cut.
How did he end up with a 10?
He sank a 20-foot putt.
NA COMMENT: Kevin Na also had a stroke or each of his fingers at the 12th.
A reporter tried to soften the question with: “Is this one of those things where you play golf long enough, things like this are going to happen?”
“Things like what?” said Na.
Instead of saying, “Ah, never mind,” the reporter persisted.
“On 12?” Na said. “Well, I went for the flag. You’re not supposed to, but I’m back of the field, trying to make a birdie, maybe a 1. And the drop zone’s a very difficult shot with the right pin.” So he kept hitting the same club, 8-iron, from the tee.
“Trying to pull off a shot that is maybe low-percentage, but I’ve got nothing to lose.”
THE KID AGAIN: The youngest player in Masters history, 14-year-old Tianlang Guan, finished as low amateur, averaging 75 strokes per round on a golf course that just wouldn’t give in, even to the world’s most seasoned pros.
He didn’t have a three-putt or a double-bogey the entire week. Utterly amazing.
He was paired with 55-year-old Scot Sandy Lyle, the 1988 champion, who was duly impressed.
“I think he had a good knowledge of what was going on. I think it was quite exciting for him, and I think he was quite surprised how well the old farts can play,” said Lyle.
AND THE GEEZERS: On the 25th anniversary of his Masters victory, Lyle closed with a 71. Unfortunately, it followed an 81 on Saturday.
“Today was just a tidier round. I made a few putts. I had two-and-a-half shanks on the way, as well,” he said. “I would have been very happy to make the cut at the start of the week. The third day just didn’t work out. Wrong side of the pin a few times and it gets messy real quick.”
With Fred Couples in contention for two rounds and Bernhard Langer making a brief run at it on Sunday, Lyle said it wasn’t out of the question that one of these days, a player from the Champions Tour would win a major.
“Well, I think what Tom (Watson) did really keeps us all going. To really realize that you’re one week off 60 years old and still almost pulled off the steal of the century of winning the (2009) Open Championship,” Lyle said. “We all wish he had won it, but it gives us a lot of hope. But it’s a tall order, especially on a course like this where you’ve got to walk four days and you feel it at the end of the day.”
HE HAD HIS PHIL: It was one of the all-time bad Masters for perennial contender Phil Mickelson, whose week was like this: 71-76-77-73.
“It’s disappointing for me because this is my favourite place in the world to play,” he said. “And to perform like this ... I’m disappointed in myself because I expect a lot more of myself, out of my game.”
RORY RECOVERS: After his 42 on the back nine Saturday blew him out of the tournament, Rory McIlroy rallied for a 69 Sunday, much too late.
“Obviously I went through a bad stretch of holes yesterday from 7 to 11, played them in five-over. But it’s just about trying to limit those mistakes. I’m learning each and every year around here,” he said, “and I still have plenty of more years to try to get one of those jackets.”
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