Bubba Watson may not be the prototypical golfer, and he may not have a swing that you’d want to copy for your next round at the local country club. But he’s immensely popular among golf fans, and he’s now won the Masters twice in the last three years.
Watson rallied after a slow start to come back and win the tournament, pulling away on the back nine Sunday to win by three stokes over Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. Watson shot a three-under 69 for the day, the best of the contenders and enough to earn him a well-deserved victory.
It didn’t always look like it would be that simple for Watson, however. Early in the round, he saw himself two shots behind Spieth after seven holes. But just two holes later, he had reversed the situation and held a two-shot lead, which he never relinquished.
Not the Favorite, But a Popular Pick
Bubba Watson didn’t come into the 2014 Masters as the bookmakers’ favorite to win the tournament, but he wasn’t very far down the list, either. While Rory McIlroy was pretty much the universal first choice, he was a soft favorite, entering the tournaments with odds of around 10-1.
But there were several players right behind him. Even after Tiger Woods was forced out of the event due to injury, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Phil Michelson were listed in the range of 15-1 to 20-1 at most major sportsbooks. Watson was also in that group, with 20-1 being the most commonly offered odds for the eventual winner.
Of course, those odds shortened as the tournament went on. Heading into the third round with the lead, Watson was being offered at 2-1 odds. Scott was actually the second choice at 9-2, while Spieth – four shots back – could be backed at 10-1.
With Scott falling out of contention on Saturday, Watson remained the favorite heading into Sunday’s final round. He was an 11-4 first choice, with Spieth (who was now tied for first with Watson) at 7-2, and Matt Kuchar was offered at 4-1 at just one shot back.
The People’s Champion
Whether they bet on the tournament or not, there were certainly plenty of fans who were excited to see Bubba win his second Masters. The 35-year-old from Bagdad, Florida is an enigmatic but widely admired player, leading some to refer to him as “the people’s champion.”
Using a driver with a pink shaft, Watson hits the ball further than anyone on tour. His swing is unique, he tends to ramble during interviews, and he’s very active on Twitter – even conversing with followers during the Masters.
And despite winning a prize of $1.62 million this weekend, Watson took friends and family for a championship dinner at Waffle House – something he shared with the world via his Twitter feed. With the Masters champion having the ability to choose the menu for the Champions Dinner at the tournament the following year, Watson even said he considered having it catered by Waffle House after he won in 2012 – though he never followed through on that idea.