Editor’s note: This story was originally published in April 2020.
When you think of two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, there’s probably one shot that stands out above all others.
You know which one we’re talking about here: the gap-wedge from the pine straw that hooked 40 yards to set up a two-putt par for his playoff win at Augusta National in 2012.
Pretty incredible shot, right?
But, according to Watson’s longtime caddie Ted Scott, not only was that playoff-hero shot not the best one Watson has hit in the Masters, but it wasn’t even the best shot that the lefty hit that week.
Scott joined The Caddie Network’s special edition Masters week Caddies United podcast – along with fellow Masters-winning caddies Joe LaCava and Damon Green – and explained that if you thought that playoff shot by Watson was his best, you’d be wrong.
“Well, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you do not know unless you know which one it was in 2012. It’s not the shot on 10 (in the playoff),” Scott insisted. “The greatest shot I’ve ever seen in my entire life was hit on hole 11 on Friday during the 2012 Masters by my boss. To this day, I still can’t believe it’s possible, I don’t know how it’s possible, I don’t know how he did it. I’ve even taken some friends over there and said, ‘hey, look at this,’ you know? ‘Is this possible?’ And there’s no way.”
It all started when Watson hit his tee shot in the second round well right of the fairway.
“I think he was about 3 under at the time,” Scott recalled. “The pin was actually fairly generous that day. It was kind of a middle pin, a little bit on the right backside. I was trying to convince him to chip out. ‘Look man, let’s just chip out.’ It’s a wedge. ‘Just chip it out, man. Worst thing we’re going to do is have a 20-footer if we hit a bad wedge shot and the greens are perfect, so we can probably make it.’ It’s pretty flat, that’s one of the flatter greens – that portion anyway. I was very much trying to convince him to back off and just do that.”
But Watson was having none of his caddie’s pleading. Scott has seen Watson pull off magical shots throughout his career, but what concerned him with this particular shot was the lie.
Here’s the shot:
Masters 2018: Bubba Watson | 11th Hole, Round 2 pic.twitter.com/eoibZgCls2
— Masters Highlights (@MastersMoments) April 6, 2018
“The lie was really what made it so difficult,” Scott explained. “I equate it maybe to like a bird’s nest. If you think about how a bird makes a nest and then you put the eggs in it – so his ball was in a bird’s nest of pine straw. It was fluffed up and the ball was sitting off the ground a few inches, but was completely surrounded by pine straw, where – in my mind – you can’t get any spin on it. He had to keep it low for about 20 feet and a maximum of about 12 feet high for about 20 feet to get it out of the trees, and he had to start it left of the pond. All those things together and it’s like, ‘Dude, we’re going to make a triple.’ As these guys know, if you hit it in that pond, the drop area is no joke. It’s a very short shot from a weird angle. It’s just – everything about it – it’s like a triple bogey right there and we might miss the cut. I’m like, ‘Bubba, let’s just chip it out, man.’”
“He says, ‘No. I’m pretty sure I can hook it.’ I was like, ‘Bubba – you can’t. There’s no way you can get enough spin on this ball. You have to keep it low.’ His final words to me, his exact words, he says, ‘You know I’m known for hooking it, right? So, back off.’ I was so mad. I was livid. I literally backed away thinking, ‘this is the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe this guy. He’s so prideful.’”
With that, Watson took his 9-iron out, put the ball back in his stance and hit a low duck hook, “like you can’t even imagine how much he hooked this ball,” Scott said.
The ball caught the slope short right of the green.
“It hooked so much and ran off that slope onto the front of the green and he two-putted for par and I still to this day – and he even to this day – will say that’s the greatest shot he’s ever hit in his life,” Scott said. “I mean I don’t even know how it’s possible with the lie and, you know, it was just incredible.”