AUGUSTA, Georgia -- In the end, a guy who swings a mean, bright pink driver won the Masters. And his name is Bubba. He has a degree from the University of Georgia, by way of Faulkner State Community College in Bay Minette.
It was perfect. But mostly, it was an improbable final round.
On a day that featured a little bit of everything, free-swinging, long-hitting Bubba Watson won the Masters with a two-putt on the second playoff hole, where he shaped a shot -- an improbable, almost impossible, did-you-see-that? shot -- from a clearing among the Georgia pines, resting on a bed of pine straw.
You know, routine stuff.
It was the best shot of a day in which Watson's playing partner, Louis Oosthuizen, scored a double eagle, the first ever on the second hole in Masters play and only the fourth in the tournament's history. Oosthuizen went from 7 under to 10 under with one swing of the club.
That was just the start. Bo Van Pelt, who started the day at 7 over and ended the day at 1 under, made a hole-in-one at No. 16, shortly after an eagle on 13, a birdie at 14 and another birdie on 18 to shoot 30 on the back nine.
A short time later, Adam Scott stepped to the No. 16 tee and repeated Van Pelt's shot, making an ace as well. He started the day 2 over and ended it at 4 under.
Who would have guessed that Phil Mickelson, with three previous wins, the gallery strongly behind him, and coming off such a strong round Saturday, would end where he started the day, at 8 under? If the winning score was 10 under, how was it not Mickelson? Or Peter Hanson, who started the day with the lead at 9 under and finished at 8 under, 1 over for the final 36 holes?
Who would have figured Mickelson would toss away his chances on a par-3 hole? He hit his tee shot over the corner of the grandstands at No. 4 and into bamboo trees. Instead of taking a drop or re-teeing, the left-hander decided to try to advance the ball by hitting right-handed. It barely came out, leaving another bad lie, which he also hit right-handed, across his shoes. His flop shot was a flop, landed in the trap, and he finished with a triple-bogey six, his second triple-bogey of the tournament.
Watson made four straight birdies beginning at 13 to put himself in the hunt. Lee Westwood made three straight birdies, also beginning at 13, finished with a birdie at 18, but made too many mistakes and missed too many opportunities.
Sharing the lead and on the 18th tee, Watson blasted his drive down the middle and Oosthuizen followed. The two men, trying to win a major championship, shared a laugh walking off the tee. Really? In that situation? Improbable most any other time, but not Sunday.
In the playoff, they returned to 18, repeated their drives and their par scores and headed to 10, walking toward history.
The Masters is a tournament won over four days, not one, and certainly not on one shot, yet there are three single shots that fashioned Sunday's finish: Oosthuizen's double eagle that put him in the lead. Mickelson's tee shot on 4 that led to bad decisions. And Watson's recovery on the second playoff hole that won the tournament.
In describing the win, Watson said he never got this far in his dreams. No one dreams that big.
Improbable? Yes. But, man, was it cool.
Contact Tommy Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org