14 from ’14, Day 7: The yin and yang of Bubba Watson

Yes, this is work.

Yes, this is work.

Continuing the look back at what I wrote this year. Today, we’re off to the towering pines and rolling hills of Augusta National.

One of the questions I get the most frequently is what sport I enjoy covering the most. The answer to that depends on the day; the power and storylines of NASCAR, the momentous pomp of the NFL, the batshit craziness of college football all have their allure. But if you’re asking which event I enjoy the most, the answer is always the same: The Masters.

Big surprise, right? One of the  most prestigious events in sports just happens to make for a quality story. But there’s more to it than that. There’s the creature-comfort aspect; that’s the media center up there, and it’s stocked with all the pimento cheese sandwiches and Coke (and, on Sunday evening, open bar) that a working journo could want. There’s the camaraderie aspect; I have half a dozen very good journalist friends who are at the event each year as well, so it’s a reunion of sorts.

But above all, the Masters makes for a hell of a story. If you win the Masters, you are an immortal in a sport where careers last decades. It’s an atmosphere of old money privilege, sure, but within that you can find some fascinating stories, like the guy who won it this year:

AUGUSTA, Ga. – A crowd of thousands had gathered around the practice green at Augusta, standing ten deep and leaning over the railing of the clubhouse’s famous veranda. Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, was in the midst of introducing dozens of representatives of golf associations from around the world. Adam Scott, defending champion, looked every bit as smooth as he ever does. A sea of green jackets flanked them all.

And in the middle of it all, the man of the hour, the one for whom all this pomp and circumstance was necessary, sat up straight, fingers steepled on his knees, looking exactly like a fidgety kid waiting outside the principal’s office.

That would be Bubba Watson, who’s now won the Masters twice in three years. That’s the lead of my wrapup story on Watson, who’s one of the stranger birds ever to swing a golf club. Six hours after the moment noted above, Watson and friends were at a Waffle House. Of course they were. (Here’s the rest of that article above.)

Tiger Woods may or may not win another Masters, but until he does, virtually anyone who does instantly becomes a more fascinating character.

Previous 14 from ’14:
Day 1: In victory lane for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Daytona 500 win
Day 2: US Open: A father, a son, a wheelchair, and Phil Mickelson
Day 3: Which college boasts the three best cross-sport athletes?
Day 4: FSU-Miami: Why won’t you die, Florida State?
Day 5: NFL playoffs: The refs robbed the Panthers!
Day 6: Behind the scenes at the NASCAR championship


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