Bubba Watson happy to be blue collar guy in green jacket

American owes second Masters crown in three years to ‘hard work and dedication’

Bubba Watson withstood an inspired early challenge from playing partner Jordan Spieth to clinch the Masters for a second time in three years with a three-shot victory at Augusta National on Sunday. Video: Reuters


Bubba Watson was quick to play down his achievement of winning a second Masters title in three years as Jordan Spieth declared himself ready to taste major success.

Watson beat Spieth and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt by three shots after a closing 69 at Augusta National, becoming the 17th player to win more than one green jacket.

That list features the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, but Watson was not about to accept the label of an elite player.

“No, no,” the 35-year-old left-hander said. “Again, I just got lucky enough to have two green jackets. I’m just trying to keep my tour card every year and if people say that I’m a good player, that’s great.

“I’m trying to play golf for a living. I’m not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I’m one of the greats of the game. I play golf because I love it. I love the game, I want to grow the game. The game has brought me everything that I’ve ever owned in my life.”

Watson crucially matched Spieth’s birdies on the par-three fourth and sixth - the former after Spieth had holed out from a greenside bunker - but still trailed by two shots after his playing partner also birdied the seventh.

However, Spieth then three-putted the eighth and dropped another shot on the ninth, holes Watson birdied to be out in 33 and claim a two-shot cushion heading into the back nine.

“Eight and nine were really the turning point where momentum kind of went my way,” added Watson, who hit a 366-yard drive and sand wedge into the par-five 13th to set up his only birdie on the back nine. “Then the group in front of us and other groups, you could just tell nobody really caught fire. There wasn’t too many birdies after number 10 I don’t think.

“I don’t remember the last few holes, I just remember hanging on, making pars. Somehow I did and walking up 18 was a little easier this time.”

Watson, who beat Louis Oosthuizen in a play-off two years ago, added: “This one is a lot different. The first one is almost like I lucked into it, this was a lot of hard work and dedication and I got back the green jacket after giving it away last year.”

As defending champion Watson presented the green jacket to 2013 winner Adam Scott; on Sunday the roles were reversed.

“I told Adam we should just keep switching it back and forth,” Watson joked.

Spieth, who was looking to become the youngest ever Masters champion at the age of 20, said: “I’ve worked my whole life to lead in the Masters on Sunday, I had it in my hands and could have gone forward with it and didn’t quite make the putts and that’s what it came down to.

“I wanted to get into contention and that’s what happened but I can take a lot of positives away. My game held up and I feel like I am ready to win a major. It’s just a matter of time and maybe a little bit of course knowledge.”

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