At this point of last year’s Masters week, the area between holes 10 and 18, near the fairway bunker on No. 10, was just a patch of trees.
It couldn’t even be described as a good shortcut between the two holes because of a steep grade and slippery pine straw.
Then Bubba Watson came along, and now the spot is a Masters landmark.
The shot Watson, a lefthander, hit to win the 2012 Masters on the second sudden-death playoff hole at No. 10 – named Camellia – was officially a 155-yard wedge shot from right of the fairway, but anyone who watched that Sunday knows it was so much more than that.
Patrons reaching the Augusta National on Monday found out just how much more.
Watson was pinned back in the trees, in a place where even the best golfers would be stretching their imaginations to expect a result anywhere near the green.
Andrew Cuthbert of Auburn, N.Y., was at the course for the first time on Monday and was amazed at how far the shot bent to the right to reach its landing place about 15 feet from the hole.
“It’s not something a normal golfer can do,” Cuthbert said. “He hooked it 50 yards with a wedge?”
Official estimates have pegged the shot as a 40-yard lefthanded hook, but that’s still more than most golfers can expect to do on purpose. Pete Mahoney of St. Louis, Mo., said he was more than capable of having his shot hook that far unintentionally, but not on purpose.
“I’m blown away because it’s not that far from the green,” Mahoney said, also on his first trip to Augusta National.
The shot gave Watson two putts to beat Louis Oosthuizen, who had his own spectacular shot when he made an albatross or double-eagle on the Par-5 second hole earlier in the day. Despite the pressure of the situation, Watson put his ball in the hole with his second putt to earn the green jacket and seal his place in history.
Now, patrons flock to the spot where Watson joined the legends of the game that have won the Masters. Along with Cuthbery and Mahoney, Doug and Joanne Latham of Bellevue, Iowa, had decided they wanted to take a look at the spot, if they could find it.
With a little help, they found the place they were looking for and were just as impressed as they thought they’d be.
“This is Bubba’s shot,” Doug said. “It’s an unmakeable shot, but he made it.”
And just how should the Augusta National commemorate the memorable moment?
The Lathams suggested a medallion embedded in the ground. Another patron said that “something pink” would be appropriate because of Watson’s signature pink driver.
Even fellow golfers are expecting there to be a mark of sorts at the location of Bubba’s shot.
“I’d still like to see where he hit that shot from,” Matt Kuchar said. “I don’t know if there’s any sort of ... I don’t imagine there being a plaque, but there must be a thousand divots from the place, probably dug a hole with all of the people trying to replicate the shot.”
With such a marker, the area would surely need a name at a course that has Rae’s Creek, Amen Corner, Eisenhower’s Tree and other named drawing points. This place, where dozens of patrons gathered Monday to recreate the shot, assess its difficulty and just be in awe of Watson’s creativity in the face of pressure, could use such a designation.
One suggestion Monday was “Bubba’s Valley,” which Mahoney quickly edited to “Bubba’s Alley.”
No matter what you call it, even after a year has gone by, golf fans haven’t forgotten how incredible the shot to win the 2012 Masters was.
“It’s awesome,” Cuthbert said, putting the shot in the same class with a legendary shot Phil Mickelson hit from the trees off of No. 13 in 2010. “This is right there with it.”