Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in our all-new live Readers' Confidential or in the comments section below.
BUBBA BREAKS THROUGH AT AUGUSTA
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Well, that's exactly the way all of the experts, including us, thought the 2012 Masters would finish, right? Bubba Watson is the new owner of a green jacket. Let's start out this edition of PGA Tour Confidential with your reaction to Bubba's win. Be honest. Did you think Bubba had what it takes to win a Masters?
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Have to admit, I thought his short game would let him down. Didn't seem like he was special on the greens at Augusta, but he didn't make any big mistakes either.
John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: I did think Bubba had what it takes -- I even said so in our panel discussion this morning -- but I thought he might fall victim to his own shot-making creativity. I certainly got that wrong.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I think it really helped Bubba that he was in the trees on 10. It enabled him to get into his imagination, where he does his best work. I remember noticing this when he was on the Nationwide tour. He got out of position on a par 5 and hit his second shot through a gap in the trees about the size of a hula-hoop.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: He did miss it well right at the 10th in regulation, Cam. Maybe that was the game plan.
Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: His game can let him down one minute and save his ass the next, and that was what we saw on 10 in the playoff. He's like Phil, only wilder and more able to pull off freaky-hard recovery shots. That erratic (though often brilliant) game, plus his general skittishness, didn't seem to make him a great candidate for a green jacket. Shows what I know.
Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: He's way more jittery than Phil. Early in the round he was shouting in frustration, and I thought, oh boy, here it comes, game over. But obviously he held it together. Those four straight birdies were Schwarztel-esque.
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I wasn't sure Bubba had the discipline or the nerve to navigate Augusta National, but he proved he had both. His power and imagination translated perfectly. His recent adoption of a baby boy also had him in a relaxed frame of mind. I think it inspired him.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: There was something different about Bubba today. Usually I get nervous just watching him near the lead on Sunday, but on the back nine he looked more in control of himself. I think Damon's right about fatherhood agreeing with Bubba.
Wei: He hasn't even changed a diaper yet! He hasn't really "experienced" fatherhood, but maybe the idea of it helped.
Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: I definitely thought he had the game to win at Augusta. Winning on Tour, in the Ryder Cup, and losing in a playoff in the PGA Championship -- all that and his everyday shotmaking and swagger showed he had major talent.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I love watching him, but I did not think he could pull it off. Good for him.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: I thought Bubba might win a major someday, but I didn't think his first would be a Masters. I just thought that free-wheeling style might come back to bite him at Augusta. It almost did, but he free-wheeled one of the great escape shots in Masters history on the 10th hole in the playoff. He won it his way.
Godich: I didn't expect it, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Bubba is a bomber, he's creative in the way he shapes shots, and he had been in a playoff at a major before, albeit not the Masters. And I also think he was aided by playing with Oosthuizen. Seeing another guy playing solid golf had to help.
Wei: It was awesome to watch them duel it out. I camped out in the sitting room by the locker room, where Oothuizen's wife, mom, kids and manager were watching, along with Schwartzel and his wife. (The Green Jacket had its own chair.) Bubba's agent was there, too. The atmosphere was intense -- you could feel the nervous excitement.
Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: Were you surprise to see Bubba win this Masters?