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He started three shots out of the lead, and two holes into the final round, he watched Louis Oosthuizen make an albatross on the par-5 second hole with a 4-iron that landed on the front of the green and rolled some 90 feet into the cup for a 2.
That put him four shots behind, though Watson knew he could make up ground, and he was right. The turning point came after his bogey on the par-3 12th, when mud on his ball sent his putt behind the green off line and some 6 feet by the hole. Watson ran off four straight birdies, all of them impressive -- a 9-iron for his second shot on the par-5 13th for a two-putt birdie, a sand wedge to 5 feet on the 14th, another massive drive for a 7-iron onto the green at the par-5 15th and an 8-iron to 4 feet at the 16th.
Still, this Masters will be remembered for two wild shots in the playoff. One was an accident. The other was on purpose.
After he and Oosthuizen each missed birdie chances on the 18th in a playoff, Watson pulled his drive into the trees to the right of the 10th fairway. When he saw his ball deep in the woods, he immediately pictured the shot in his head.
Not many others could have seen it.
He used the crowd as a line for how he wanted to start the gap wedge from 155 yards -- straight to the fairway, low enough to stay under a large limb and then a wild hook toward the green.
"Hooked it about 40 yards, hit about 15 feet off the ground until it got under the tree and then started rising," he said. "Pretty easy."
It set up a two-putt par from 10 feet, enough for the win when Oosthuizen chipped 12 feet by the hole and two-putted for bogey.
Where does Watson get the nerve to hit such a shot? Because that's fun to him, whether he's in a practice round with friends or playing for the prestige of a green jacket.
"I want to hit the incredible shot," he said. "Who doesn't?"
That's what makes Watson special. His father, who died after the Ryder Cup in 2010, was the only teacher Watson had, and there weren't many lessons. He showed his son how to grip the club and swing it, and the boy figured the rest out himself. Watson still doesn't have a teacher.
"Why do I want somebody to tell me what to do?" he once said. "I'm still a kid. I'm hitting shots that I want to hit. I'm doing the things that I want to do. I play it my way."
Bubba golf. It's going to be fun.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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