By Dave Kindred
Van Pelt made his ace on 16 (left) about 90 minutes before Oosthuizen’s double agle on No. 2 rocked Augusta National.
3: 20 P. M.
“You can’t watch the Masters when you’re at the Masters,”
laments one patron with the misfortune of bad timing. The
realization comes when he misses Adam Scott’s hole-in-one on 16 because he left his seat to chase the leaders after
hearing the roars for Oosthuizen’s double eagle.
6:04 P. M.
Although there’s plenty of back-nine excitement going
on, only four golfers (Peter Hanson, Oosthuizen, Matt
Kuchar and Bubba Watson) will ultimately claim a share
of the final-round lead—compared to eight in 2011—
after Kuchar makes a two-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole.
3: 30 P. M.
Phil Mickelson’s fate seems to be sealed when he hits
his tee shot on the par- 3 fourth off a railing of the grandstand left of the green. The ball ricochets into the air and
lands in the brush. People scramble to get a good view
while shouting (half-kiddingly): “Kick it out! Kick it out!”
6: 41 P. M.
Ben Crane and Rickie Fowler emerge from the clubhouse
and head toward the 18th green to support their music-video partner, Watson. The pair walk at a brisk pace, but
decide not to test the club’s no-running policy.
3: 41 P. M.
After contemplating his options for several minutes,
Mickelson takes a right-handed swing at the ball, moving it only inches. Another right-handed swing advances
it a few yards into the grass. A flop shot falls short of the
green into the bunker. From there Phil gets up and down
for a triple-bogey 6, now four shots off the lead.
6: 47 P. M.
With Watson and Oosthuizen, each at 10 under, safely
on the 18th green in regulation, the championship committee “releases” Lee Westwood, who finished at eight
under and had been taken past the awaiting media and
into the locker room, when it’s determined his chances
of being in a playoff are over.
3: 56 P. M.
Twenty years after Fred Couples’ tee ball on the par- 3
12th miraculously stayed dry after hitting the bank in
front of the green, the former Masters champ doesn’t
test fate again. This time, Couples overshoots the green.
As he did in 1992, Couples gets up and down for par.
7: 34 P. M.
On the second playoff hole, Oosthuizen makes bogey,
giving Watson two putts from 12 feet for the win. When
the first one runs roughly a foot by, the excited crowd
senses the result. Conversely, Watson waves his hand
at them as if to say ‘not so fast,’ remembering I. K. Kim’s
miss a week earlier at the Kraft Nabisco.
5: 40 P.M.
Sensing the potential for a playoff given the tight
leader board, 18th hole announcer Johnny Paulk walks
all the way around the green, explaining to spectators
the order of holes that will be played in sudden death:
18-10-18. “Hang on to your seats at the end and maybe
we’ll get some more fun,” Paulk jokes.
7: 35 P.M.
Watson’s putt falls and a security guard in the champions’ parking lot announces to the few in the area that:
“We’ve got a new tenant.” Asked if it’s OK if Watson
drives the recently purchased General Lee used on the
TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the guard without
hesitation says sure.
About 2: 55 p.m. Sunday, Louis Oosthuizen, from the crest of the hill in the
second fairway, cut a 4-iron toward the
green, 253 yards away.
About 15 seconds later, he was Gene
The ball landed near the green’s
center and began a long, looping roll
toward the flagstick. Quickly, the patrons
recognized a good thing. With each turn,
the murmurings became encourage-
ments on their way to shouted urgings
that wound up as pleadings, “Go IN,
“Maybe 55 feet,” a fan said.
“A big right turn,” another said.
On one man’s stopwatch, the journey
went on for 14. 7 seconds.
“It landed on the bottom,” said Wayne
Mitchell, “and it looked like it had every-
thing it needed to go in.”
And soon after it did go in, Mitchell
became a piece of Masters history him-
self. Like everyone else behind the second
green, the 59-year-old businessman
from New Tripoli, Pa., rose in applause
for Oosthuizen’s double-eagle Sunday
afternoon. But only Mitchell left the green
with the Titleist Pro V1x that had rolled
so perfectly across the green.
“He caught my eye, and threw it
straight to me,” Mitchell said of Oosthui-
zen. “My fear was that I’d drop it.”
If Mitchell didn’t immediately under-
stand the significance of owning the
double-eagle ball—he seemed never to
have heard of Sarazen—he might have
caught on when he was surrounded by
Augusta National members eager to
whisk him away from reporters. Mitchell
said he hadn’t thought of the ball’s value,
not even in an eBay way. But, when asked
if he’d return the ball back to Oosthuizen,
he said, “If he wants it back, absolutely.”
Instead, according to the club’s media
chairman, Craig Heatley, Mitchell donated
the ball to Augusta National.