The Follow-Through: Masters musings
By David Jordan, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Just a few thoughts following the Masters:
BUBBA DOESN'T LIKE TO LAY UP
Holding on to a three-stroke lead with four holes to play during the final round, Bubba Watson sent his drive into the second cut, or rough at any other course besides Augusta National, to the right of the fairway on the par-5 15th hole.
Now any other player would probably decide to limit the damage and lay up short of the water that guards the green and chip on from there to possibly make a birdie.
Watson, however, is no normal player and decided to blast through the trees in front of him.
The resulting shot landed maybe a foot past the water and rolled off the back of the green.
When asked about the thought process of that shot in an interview after the tournament, Watson's caddie Ted Scott said, "It's 'Bubba Golf' ... It's a freak show. I can't describe it any other way."
A freak show, indeed.
I would guess about 95 percent of the players on the PGA Tour would not even attempt that shot, but I guess I would never lay up if I could mash the ball like Watson.
The slightest mistake on that shot and Jordan Spieth has a chance to get back into the tournament.
But Watson did not make a mistake and the resulting par is now just a footnote on the way to his second green jacket in three years.
TV MISSES TIGER AND PHIL
This was the first year since 1994 that neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson was playing on Masters weekend, and the viewing public seemed to notice.
Woods, of course, did not even start the tournament as he recovers from back surgery, while Mickelson failed to make the cut at Augusta for the first time in 20 years.
The last time neither of those two played on Masters weekend, both of them did not even start the tournament.
The result was that Saturday's ratings fell from 6.3 last year to a 4.4 this year and Sunday's dipped from 10.2 in 2013 to a 7.8.
I can understand some people not watching on Saturday because of the lack of the two biggest names in the PGA, but Sunday's round was great theater. At least through the first 12 or 13 holes while the outcome was still not decided.
The ratings must have the PGA and its television partners more than a little worried.
Woods is suffering through yet another injury and no one knows what he will be like when he returns, and Mickelson is already 43 years old and not getting any younger.
There will always be the fans of the sport who will watch no matter what, but it's the casual fans who want to see the names they know the television networks are in fear of losing.
Despite the fact that there are still plenty of great players in the game who are extremely entertaining to watch, including up-and-comers like Spieth. Woods is the guy everybody loves to hate and Mickelson is the good guy people love to watch.
Mickelson will have to carry the load while Woods is on the mend and the PGA Tour can only hope he is near the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Open in June. Woods is most likely going to miss that major as well.
SPIETH'S TIME WILL COME
You can't help but be impressed with what the 20-year-old Spieth has done in just under two years on the PGA Tour.
His second-place Masters finish was his fourth top-5 of this season and 10th overall in the past two years, including his first career win at the 2013 John Deere Classic.
I'm sure right now he is pretty upset he could not come away with his first major victory, but he will no doubt learn from his experience, and it is more of a question of when, not if, he will eventually put on a green jacket.
The only thing he will have to do is learn to keep his emotions in check, which is understandable for someone as young as Spieth. There were times on Sunday when it looked like he let his apparent disappointment of how he was playing get the better of him during the back nine.
If he can do that, there is no ceiling to what he can accomplish during his promising career.
04/18 09:23:49 ET