Bubba Watson may be the only left-handed former Masters champion who birdies five consecutive holes, mashes 310-yard drives and refers to his tee shots as “slap-cuts.”
It was Bubba World at Augusta National on Friday, where the 2012 Masters winner turned back the clock a couple of years and played a Sunday round in the second round.
His 4-under 68 that featured a stretch of five straight birdies beginning at the 12th - set up by his patented cut shot - put him in, yes, the driver’s seat as the Masters made a quick turn into the weekend.
“It’s not science here,” Watson said. “If you’re hitting greens, you’re not going to be in the trees all the time.
“That’s what I’ve done the last two days, and it’s worked out so far.”
Mostly, Watson spent his time finding his ball a long way down the fairways, launched there by the huge right-to-left cut shot, a shot that’s easier to hit for a left-hander than a draw by a right-hander and completely compatible with taking on Augusta National.
Luke Donald, who was paired with Watson, had an up-close view of the wondrous way Watson worked the ball.
“He can move it both ways,” Donald said. “And being a left-hander moving left-to-right around some of these holes is a lot easier.”
For sure, Watson made it look simple in his birdie streak.
Even par for the day when he made the turn, Watson began beefing up his round soon after. He even made history. He became just the fifth player to birdie Nos. 12 through 16, joining David Toms, Gary Player, Geoff Ogilvy and Hale Irwin.
There’s another list that Watson could join by Sunday. If he holds on, he would become the sixth left-handed Masters winner in the last 12 years, with Mike Weir the first in 2003.
Watson said he’s not surprised that left-handers have assumed a greater role at the Masters.
“Lefties are the best,” he said.
And lefties who can putt like Watson did Friday aren’t too bad, either. He said he had a putting plan.
“Just close my eyes and putt,” Watson said. “You know, they went in. I’m a professional golfer. I made it to the Masters. So obviously I can play a little bit.”
As for that string of birdies, Watson said it was no big deal and a big deal at the same time.
“It’s one of those things, every guy in the field has had that stretch before, playing with their buddies or playing in a tournament, so it’s not that big a deal when we think about it,” he said. “But at the Masters, it makes it a big deal.”
Watson blamed his mediocre 2013 on the aftereffects of his victory at the Masters. He said he lost track of what had gotten him into golf’s upper echelon in the first place, so he reaffirmed his joy of playing and revisited the sacrifices made to get him there.
“You’ve got to think about where I’ve come from, my mom having two jobs to pay for my golf, my dad working in construction,” Watson said. “So if you think about it, it’s an accomplishment for a guy named Bubba.”