By Daniel Shirley The Macon Telegraph
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Just three players have won the Masters in consecutive years, and it has been a while since Tiger Woods accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002.
This year, that task falls to Bubba Watson, who claimed his first major championship win with his victory last year at Augusta National Golf Club. The other two to do so are Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo.
“As a competitor, as a believer in my game, yeah, I can see pulling off,” Watson said. “It wouldn’t shock me. I would still cry, but it wouldn’t shock me. But you know, the way I look at it, I’m going out there, and I want to make the cut because first off, I don’t want to have to sit around and give somebody the green jacket. I want to be here on Sunday, playing.
“But at the same time, you know, it’s hard. I mean, in history, looking at history, we’ve only seen it what, three times you’ve said. So it’s going to be tough.”
Watson has made the cut in all four of his Masters appearances, but his best finish before last year was 20th in his first trip to Augusta in 2008. In 2009, he finished 42nd, and in 2011, he finished 38th. He didn’t play in the tournament in 2010.
Last year, Watson had rounds of 69-71-70-68 and beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff.
“You know, this is the mecca,” Watson said. “This is the ultimate as a golfer, the Masters. We play the same golf courses every year. We see the beauty every year. We see heroic shots every year, because it’s the same venue every year, so it’s easy to compare and see other things that happen throughout the history of the game. I’ve never dreamed this far. Actually, as a 12-year-old making putts on the putting green, it’s easy to make putts to win the Masters, but to actually do it, that 8-incher that I made to win was a tough 8-incher.
“So for me, no, I don’t see that I’m a hero, a great of the game. But to myself, I can see that I can see that I can compete at a high level at certain moments. You know, I’m not as consistent as some of the guys, I’m not up there every year, but any moment I have a chance to win.”
Watson might have made a short putt to win last year’s tournament, but his shot from the woods right off the 10th fairway during the playoff is the one everyone remembers from last year’s tournament. It has become a fan favorite this year for people to see exactly where he hit that dramatic hook from on to the green to help set up the winning putt.
Former players and current players also have been checking it out.
“Sunday when me and my wife were playing, we were coming down off of 18 tee, there was a group of guys over there, three guys over there,” Watson said. “I couldn’t see who it was, and I yelled at them and I said, ‘No, that’s not the spot; it’s a little over,’ just joking with them, and they saw it was me. And come to find out it was Billy Casper and his son. Kind of funny. I didn’t know that, because I couldn’t see through the trees. I’m getting old, so I couldn’t see who it was.”
Because of that shot, Watson will be able to return to the Masters each year as a former champion. But this week, he’d like to join the exclusive club of players to win it back to back.