1. Gerry Lester Watson, Jr. If 2012 was the quintessence of Bubba Golf — a high-wire act defined by a freakish shot out of the trees — this win was a monument to his maturation. On a setup that pushed players to the breaking point, Watson was controlled, calculating and even-keeled, and this dominant victory elevates him from a mere curiosity to an all-time legend.
2. Angie & Caleb Watson, Ted Scott, Jens Beck. Wife, son, caddie, agent…these are the people around Bubba who manage his life, help him focus and give him direction. It’s hard to imagine where this flighty character would be without such a solid team.
3. Rory McIlroy. He played three excellent rounds and had a career-best Masters finish, T8. For a guy who has been repeatedly tortured by Augusta National, this constitutes progress. Plus, his fiance’s hot pink hair was a welcome bit of levity at a club that takes itself waaay too seriously.
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez. Sure, we all love the Spafro, the cigar, the stretching routine and the quips, but MAJ would not be nearly so interesting if he weren’t such a stylish golfer. One of the finest iron players in the world put on a show at a baked-out Masters, and it’s not hard to imagine Jimenez winning tournaments deep into his 50s.
5. Jordan Spieth. The kid put on a helluva show, and after his audacious Masters debut, there’s no reason to think he won’t win a green jacket. Maybe even next year.
1. Jordan Spieth. The tournament flipped when he made soft bogeys on 8 and 9, but more jarring was his lack of composure on the back nine — huffing, puffing, pouting, dropping clubs. I’m all for playing with emotion, but this is the fourth or fifth straight time Spieth has made costly mistakes and fallen short when he had a chance to win. He wants it too much on Sundays and pushes too hard. He will learn to get out of his own way — he’s too smart not to — but until then, Spieth is not going to be the player we all want him to be.
2. Sunday’s back nine. That was about as boring a finish as I can remember at Augusta. It’s never a good sign when a guy begins the day tied for the lead, makes only one back-nine birdie and still wins easily.
3. The Tiger & Phil Era. This is not the end, but last week made clear it’s definitely the beginning of the end.
4. Matt Kuchar. Once again he was in position to make a run at the green jacket, but he short-circuited with a ghastly 4-putt on the fourth hole. Maybe some guys are just too nice to win the Masters.
5. Freddie. If they gave out the green jacket on Friday evening, Couples would have about a half-dozen of them. Alas, his weekend fade is becoming a sad Masters tradition. Kinda like the pimento cheese sandwich.