Sign up for our daily newsletter

Latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion, plus unmissable deals for bunkered subscriptions, events, and our commercial partners.

“I couldn’t write the story because no-one would believe it.” It is one of the more striking quotes from Bubba Watson in his official Masters film.

“When you think about where I’ve come from,” he tells bunkered when asked what he meant by that. “You think about my upbringing,
you think about my parents’ jobs, and the income they had. You think about not having lessons.

“Golf was harder for left-handers back then because there wasn’t nearly as many left-handed clubs in the ‘80s when I started, and I didn’t  have a golf course or a country club to grow up on.

“So, when you add up all the things that happened in my life and my parents’ lives, why should I, or why could I be a Masters champion? You just wouldn’t believe it.”

Watson is talking to me via a video call from a LIV Golf press day ahead of the 2024 season. He’s decked from head to toe in his pink and black RangeGoats getup, but it’s other items in his wardrobe we’re here to talk about.

Indeed, this year’s renewal of the opening men’s major of the season will be the tenth anniversary of Watson’s second victory at Augusta National.

“It doesn’t feel like ten years,” he says, puffing out his cheeks. “My kids talk about it all the time – looking at the trophy, the photos. It’s crazy to think it’s been that long.”

• Opinion: Ranking the entire Masters field from 89 to 1

• Feature: 24 hours in search of the real Rory McIlroy

There was an incredibly touching moment shortly after Watson confirmed his victory over rookie Jordan Spieth and Swedish upstart Jonas Blixt. Watson’s then two-year-old son, Caleb, toddled onto the 18th green to be swept up in his father’s arms. Watson – senior, that is – wept uncontrollably as he seemingly thanked everyone in Georgia for their support.

“Did you see daddy win?” he asked through the tears. It was a moment for which he had been planning his whole life.

“My dream, if I ever won, was always to give everyone a high-five walking down to the Butler Cabin. But when I won in ‘12, because I had finished on the tenth hole after the play-off , I just got in a cart to go straight to sign my card, so when I won at 18, I picked Caleb up first, then I walked back down to the bunker and high-fived  everybody.

“That was always in my dream and I always wanted to do that. It was a dream come true – and to have him there while doing that…”

He pauses for a moment.


Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson says it was a “dream” to high-five the patrons after winning the Masters. (Credit: Getty Images)

It was a culmination of four rollercoaster years for the family. Watson and his wife, Angie, had met at the University of Georgia, 100 miles west of Augusta, around the turn of the century and were married in 2004. Unable to conceive naturally, the pair turned to adoption.

“We’ve been through some struggles,” Watson says, his voice cracking slightly as he recalls what he describes as his “lowest point”.

“In 2010, my dad passed away and we had just been turned down for adoption, then we got turned down two more times, so in ‘12 when Caleb finally became our son at our fourth attempt…”

Watson drifts off as he takes himself back to Augusta and the scene of that first win just a month after officially becoming a dad.

“The Masters is just a way for me to show him all my interviews leading up to the tournament, and my interviews after the tournament, so he can see just how much he is loved, and how much he is cherished.

“That has meant more to me than winning the tournament. All those touching moments – when they come on Golf Channel…”

Watson smiles mischievously.

“Well, they don’t show them any more since I moved to LIV,” he jokes.

“But even my daughter, who wasn’t born yet, she watches it and she waits for the bit at the end where Caleb is with my wife, and she always asks me if I can win the Masters again so she can be there.

“I tell her I’m trying!”

Bubba Watson
An emotional Bubba Watson gets a hug from mum Molly after breaking through on the major level. (Credit: Getty Images)

Watson’s coup de grâce, of course, came on Easter Sunday in 2012 when, during the second hole of a sudden-death play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, the Floridian hit one of the finest shots ever seen at the Augusta showpiece.

After a poor drive found the pine straw among the trees, Watson spent what felt like an eternity weighing up his options. Eventually, he
decided he had enough room to play one of his signature hook shots. As the watching world held its collective breath, Watson took his wedge
from caddie Ted Scott, had one glance down the corridor of bodies that had formed either side of him, and made sure he, in his own words, “didn’t leave anything in the bag”.

The patrons offered tentative encouragement to the ball as it swung towards the green, then erupted as it found the putting surface. The risk
paid off. With Oosthuizen struggling to get up and down from the fringe, Watson was left with ten feet and two putts to ensure sport’s most famous item of clothing would be heading south with him.

Watson, it turns out, is perfectly fine talking about the moment that made him a major champion. Though there is a surprising twist on how he remembers it.

“It’s a good problem to have to talk about it a lot,” he jokes. “I think about how the moment, and where we were, and what it ended up being, made it more difficult – but actually hitting the shot wasn’t that big a deal.

“It wasn’t even the hardest or best shot I hit that week. There was even one earlier that day, at the 71st hole. I was coming off a muddy lie where people had been walking and I had to hit a 52-degree wedge up over the trees from 154 yards.

“There was another one on Friday, at 12, where I was in the pine straw, and I was only one-under at the time, and my only option was to aim at the water on 11 and hook my 9-iron even further than the one in the play-off.

“I saved par there but I could have just as easily put it in the water and missed the cut. But most people didn’t see it – because no one cares what I’m doing on Friday, right?”

• Preview: Everything you need to know about the 2024 Masters

• Interview: Scottie Scheffler reveals ‘coolest’ thing about being a Masters champ

While Watson’s typically analytical brain focuses elsewhere, he is perfectly OK with everyone else rating his play-off wedge as one of the best shots ever hit at Augusta.

“Any time my name can be around the history of golf and the history of the Masters is a dream,” he says. “People remember me for that. That’s wild!

“Caleb was one month old and my daughter wasn’t even born yet, but they know what I did, they know the shot daddy hit, they know the white outfit I was wearing…”

Watson drifts off again.

“Yeah,” he says, his smile widening. “It’s good.”

As for Watson’s personal favourite shot, that was during his second win.

“We’re on the 13th hole, the par-5, and I hit my drive over the trees to leave a wedge into that green. I have a framed picture in my house and it’s only Teddy and me in the shot. There’s no one else, not even Jordan Spieth, or the camera guy behind the green. It’s crazy to think
about that drive and where it was.

“That was the iconic shot for me in my years of playing the Masters.”

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson’s favourite shot from his time at the Masters. (Credit: Getty Images)

That birdie to close out Amen Corner saw Watson move into a three-shot lead over Spieth and Blixt that he would not relinquish. And that brought on a different sort of battle to the tension of the play-off two years prior.

“In the first victory, I had to be focused,” he explains. “There weren’t a million shots I could hit, there was just one out of the trees and the two-putt. In ‘14, I kept looking at the leaderboard and saying to my caddie, ‘We could make a seven here!’ And I kept asking, ‘Are we sure that
whoever is in second place is on that score?’ Then when we got to the green at 18 I was saying, ‘Are you sure I can four-putt from here?’”

Watson rolled his birdie effort down the slope to leave himself a tap-in that would seal his second Green Jacket, but it wasn’t enough.

“I said to Teddy, ‘Are you sure I can three-putt from here?’ But the reason I was more nervous on the 18th there than in the play-off was because if I had lost the fi rst one it couldn’t be called a choke. But you mess up a three-shot lead and everyone is going to call you a choker.

“That made my head spin even more. I was shaking more coming down 18 because I didn’t want to be known for losing it. I wanted to be known for winning it.”

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson receives his second Green Jacket from Adam Scott. (Credit: Getty Images)

He pauses once more.

“And it means I not only accomplished one of my goals of competing at the highest level on the biggest stage in the world, but actually winning.

“You can dream it, but to do it is like a fantasy. It ain’t real! And to do it twice?”

Watson exhales.

“That’s through the roof, man. I still can’t believe that happened.”

Make sure you listen our daily Masters commute episodes of The bunkered Podcast from Augusta!

author headshot

Alex Perry is the Associate Editor of bunkered. A journalist for more than 20 years, he has been a golf industry stalwart for the majority of his career and, in a five-year spell at ESPN, covered every sporting event you can think of. He completed his own Grand Slam at the 2023 Masters, having fallen in love with the sport at his hometown club of Okehampton and on the links of nearby Bude & North Cornwall.

Associate Editor

More Reads

Image Turnberry green

The bunkered Golf Course Guide - Scotland

Now, with bunkered, you can discover the golf courses Scotland has to offer. Trust us, you will not be disappointed.

Find Courses