published Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Bubba Watson celebrates winning Masters at Waffle House

Defending Masters' champion Adam Scott, of Australia, congratulates Bubba Watson, right, after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
Defending Masters' champion Adam Scott, of Australia, congratulates Bubba Watson, right, after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Augusta, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

GOLFERS WITH MULTIPLE MASTERS TITLES

• Jack Nicklaus — 6

• Arnold Palmer — 4

• Tiger Woods — 4

• Jimmy Demaret — 3

• Sam Snead — 3

• Gary Player — 3

• Nick Faldo — 3

• Phil Mickelson — 3

• Horton Smith — 2

• Byron Nelson — 2

• Ben Hogan — 2

• Tom Watson — 2

• Seve Ballesteros — 2

• Bernhard Langer — 2

• Ben Crenshaw — 2

• Jose Maria Olazabal — 2

• Bubba Watson — 2

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Adam Scott had a special species of lobster flown in from Australia to serve at the Masters champions dinner last Tuesday.

Bubba Watson celebrated winning the Masters late Sunday night by tweeting a picture of himself, his wife and a couple of friends at a Waffle House.

That's typical "Bubba from Bagdad," as he boasts about his roots in the Florida town of about 1,500 a bridge away from Pensacola.

Dining on Australian surf-and-turf in the Augusta National clubhouse with legends of the game as fellow guests is quite a contrast from ordering hash browns "covered" in the early morning.

There were only smiles in the picture, no tears like the ones he shed in the minutes after winning, seeing his wife and hoisting his son in the air.

"Why me?" he said later. "Why Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida? Why is he winning? I just always ask the question why. Why me?"

The answer: Because he hits tee shots to the moon that land in fairways; because he hits short irons into greens and putts by feeling the green beneath his feet. All that results in remarkable success at Augusta National Golf Club.

Watson sealed his second major title -- both in the Masters -- with a 336-yard drive on the par-5 13th hole that left him with a gap-wedge shot and two putts for a birdie and a three-shot lead that Jordan Spieth couldn't close without a Watson disaster.

"His drive on 13, I'll never forget," Spieth said. "I thought that it was out of bounds 70 yards left. And then it's perfect.

"Hat's off to him."

The only thing missing from Watson's Waffle House picture was the green jacket that Scott draped on him at dusk on Sunday after Watson shot 8 under par for four days and won by three shots.

Watson experienced that ceremony once before. In 2012, Charl Schwartzel put the jacket on Watson after he defeated Louis Oosthuizen in a two-hole sudden death playoff by slinging a wedge from pinestraw onto the green, where he tapped in for the win.

Then Watson's golf game went into the gutter. He had a hangover, he admitted -- not from drink but from a career-changing major victory. Everybody from PING and the rest of his sponsors wanted a piece of his time.

That time, combined with adopting a son about the same time as winning his first green jacket, sent Watson's game over par.

He didn't make the President's Cup team. He didn't qualify for the FedEx Championship. Watson spread himself too thin to concentrate on championship golf, and the results revealed the effort. Watson finished in the top 10 just three times in 21 events last season.

"Golf is tough. You never know what's going to happen," said Watson's friend, Rickie Fowler, who tied for fifth Sunday. "I definitely think he's learned a lot in the past few years. And last year wasn't that great. But he's in a good spot right now moving forward."

Good? He's in a great spot. Watson is one of 17 golfers to win the Masters more than once. Only one of the other 16 is not in the World Golf Hall of Fame -- yet: Tiger Woods.

"I just got lucky enough to win two green jackets," Watson said. "I'm just trying to keep my tour card every year, and if people say that I'm a good player, that's great."

Cementing his status among the legends of the game became easier by earning his second green jacket in three years. But he's not considered to be on the same level as the recent greats: Woods and Mickelson. At least not yet. At least not until he can prove that his results after his first major win were a fluke. That they were a bad combination of stardom and starting a family. That he lost his way and ordered lobster more often than he ordered eggs and hash browns covered with a slice of American cheese.

Watson said he's learned his lesson.

"The first time, we treated it a lot different because of my family," Watson said. "I had to be there for my son. So golf was the furthest thing from my mind. Trying to be a good husband, a good dad at that moment was the most important thing.

"So this one is a little bit different."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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