Hot pursuit: Watson, who began the day three shots off the lead of Swede
Hanson (right), reeled in South Africa’s Oosthuizen Sunday with birdies on
Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16. Hanson’s closing 73 left him T- 3, two shots back of Bubba.
DOM FURORE; DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES
Anyway, then he tried to flop it off the gravel and mud mix
where the crowd was standing and dumped it into the bunker. From there he got up and down for a triple, his second
of the tournament. No one has ever won a Masters with a
triple bogey. No one was going to win one with two.
Matt Kuchar was the first player to catch Oosthuizen
with his eagle on the 15th, but his bogey on the 16th
stopped him cold. It was Watson, one of the kids from
little Bagdad, Fla., who produced the birdies on the 13th,
14th, 15th and 16th that caught the 29-year-old South African who had hoped, instead, to meet his buddy, defending
champion Charl Schwartzel, in Butler Cabin.
With the usual suspects all playing so well coming into
Augusta, the flowers seemed to be the only thing not on
top of their game, existing only in television studios. By
the time it was all over, the favorites were as finished as
the azaleas. Midweek storms served to answer the question, “If a white oak falls on a seven-figure outhouse in the
woods, does it make a sound?” Apparently not if it’s next
to the 16th tee at Augusta National. The rain succeeded
in turning “mud ball” into a four-letter word, while the
SubAir systems were cranked up to Level Four or Suck
the Mississippi River Backward.
It was at that moment the Kazakhstan European Four-
Ball broke out, led by Lee Westwood bidding to relin-
quish the only remaining title in golf that lacks official
ranking points—Best Player Never to Have Won a Major.
Westwood led at five under par followed by Oosthuizen
and Hanson at four under. Paul Lawrie, Francesco
Molinari and Miguel Angel Jiménez were close.
Celebrating his 36th birthday, Henrik Stenson led much
of the day reaching six under before, in an achievement
of Sisyphean proportions, he rolled a snowman up the
18th for a quadruple bogey.
The Yanks were not in exile. America was being represented by Jason Dufner, the guy who waggles his club like a
feather duster; Crane, who creates videos that make Space-balls seem like Citizen Kane; and Watson. All were three
under par. Tiger Woods shot a 72 that would have been 80
without some deft putting while Mickelson had a round of
74 he was quite pleased with, considering it included his
first triple bogey, courtesy of a lost ball on the 10th.
The second day someone finally put some color in this
Masters, except it was silver. The weather turned so
cold and gray the only difference between Augusta and
Auchtermuchty was that they talk Celsius in Scotland.
Given the bitter chill, naturally the 52-year-old gray-haired
guy with the virtual vertebrae, Fred Couples, shot 67 to
tie for the lead with Dufner at five-under 139. Augusta is
the only course in the world where Couples is as comfy
as he is on his own couch. Trailing by three shots were a
resurgent Mickelson and Vijay Singh, another oldster who
followed Fred to Germany for pain-relieving platelet-rich
back injections. As if it needed proving, the three wise