All hail the feel and imagination of 'Bubba golf'
Forget lessons, just laugh in the face of caution and play "Bubba golf".
That is, after all, what won the Masters for Bubba Watson.
The exuberant American is of the "grip it and rip it" variety. Self-taught, a huge hitter with a wildly unorthodox swing and a liking for nothing more than "goofing around" off the golf course, the 33-year-old snatched his first major title on a tense final afternoon at Augusta.
Everyone expected a left-hander to make a charge, but most thought it would be the other one.
Watson is similar to Phil Mickelson in that he plays through feel and imagination and conjures shots most others don't see.
When it comes off, this approach seems genius. Watson's deliberately hooked second to the heart of the green from behind trees on the 10th, the second hole of a play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, was in this category and set up his victory.
"My caddie has always called it 'Bubba golf'," said Watson. "We always say it walking down fairways. I just play the game, the game that I love. And truthfully, it's like Seve (Ballesteros) played. He hit shots that were unbelievable. Phil Mickelson hits the shot, he goes for it.
"That's what I do. I just play golf. I attack. I always attack. I don't like to go to the centre of the greens. I want to hit the incredible shot; who doesn't? That's why we play the game of golf, to pull off the amazing shot.
"I just play golf, fun-loving Bubba, just try to have fun and goof around."
Watson plays through feel and imagination and conjures shots most others don't see. Photo: Getty
Watson, real name Gerry, is an emotional character and, when the final putt dropped, he fell weeping into the arms of his caddie, mother and fellow PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler and Ben Crane - his "band mates" in the hit internet video the "Golf Boys".
He is known for wearing his heart on his sleeve and also cried as he dedicated the first of his now four PGA Tour wins in 2010 to his father who was battling terminal cancer and died later that year.
Watson, who became a Christian in 2004, again fought back tears as he received the Green Jacket on Easter Sunday and thought of his father and the baby boy back home in Florida that he and wife Angie adopted last month.
"For me, it's just a dream come true. My dad is not here. I hope he's watching in heaven," he said.
The cliche goes that the Masters doesn't begin until the back nine on Sunday. But, for Oosthuizen and Mickelson, the whole complexion of the day, and the tournament, had changed much earlier.
The South African had surged into a sudden two-shot lead with a sensational albatross on the long second - only the fourth in Masters history. If Gene Sarazen's 1935 albatross on 15 en route to victory was "the shot heard around the world", this was possibly the shot heard on the moon. The roars reverberated long around the trees, acting like the reeds in a giant human mouth organ.
Mickelson's natural inclination to gamble, which has served him well at Augusta over the years, proved his downfall this time.
Taking two right-handed hacks to exit a clump of bamboo on the short fourth, the three-time champion ran up a triple-bogey six. Payback, perhaps, for his audacious flop shot that set up a birdie on the 15th on Saturday.
Deep in the heart of Augusta's famous back nine, in Amen Corner, among the towering pines lining the pivotal par-fives, the 13th and 15th, and in the amphitheatre at 16, the crowd tried to urge their favourite back but he had left himself too much to do.
Without Mickelson, the partisan patrons turned their attention to Watson. The biggest boom of the afternoon came when he made a fourth birdie in a row at 16 to join Oosthuizen, who was back in the lead after a dip.
The 29-year-old Oosthuizen, who has struggled with ankle ligament damage since his dominant Open win at St Andrews in 2010, said he found it tough for a few holes after the "double eagle" (as they call albatrosses in America). But he conceded Watson's banana shot in the play-off was the difference.
"It's a hard day, but you know, congrats to Bubba. He did brilliantly," said Oosthuizen, who would have received the Green Jacket from his best friend and defending champion Charl Schwartzel.
At the beginning of a much-hyped week, a Tiger Woods v Rory McIlroy clash was being talked up. But four-time champion Woods was all at sea, a dip in a generally upward curve of late, as he slumped to his worst ever Masters finish of tied 40th.
McIlroy was also off his game. Perhaps the scars of last year and the enormity of his collapse were more raw than he let on. Maybe a year out of contention for the Masters will ultimately be a blessing.
For the English, despite having the world numbers one and three, the hunt for a first major champion since Nick Faldo's third Masters win in 1996 goes on.
Lee Westwood banked another impressive result, sharing third place after making steady progress in a quiet campaign. But, after also finishing second in 2010, he has now had nine top-five finishes in majors without a victory.
Watson has got one, though. And he did it the Bubba way, adding another volume to the Masters' intoxicating back catalogue.
"I don't play the game for fame," said Watson. "It's just me. I'm just Bubba.
"I'm not ready for fame. I don't really want to be famous or anything like that. I just want to be me and play golf."