At 2:30 on a lovely April afternoon, Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen set off in the final round of the 2012 Masters. They are in the second-to-last pairing. Oosty, an easygoing South African, is two strokes behind Peter Hanson; the high-strung Bubba, by way of the Florida Panhandle, is three back. They have no way of knowing the drama that awaits them: jaw-dropping shots, wild momentum swings, agonizing misses and, ultimately, one of the most memorable finishes in Masters history.
Oosthuizen needs only a hole and a half to turn this Masters on its ear, as he jars a 253-yard four-iron on the par-5 2nd hole for the most celebrated albatross around Augusta since Gene Sarazen's deuce at the 15th hole in 1935.
Oosthuizen: I played the shot exactly like I wanted, but obviously there's some luck involved. What I remember most is how long it took the ball to roll across the green toward the hole. The noise was building and building.
Watson: When it went in, I forgot for a minute I was playing in the Masters—I turned into a fan. That was an awesome shot, man. I was happy I got to see it. I wanted to run over and give him a high five.
Jim Nantz, CBS announcer: From that moment on, I think we all had a feeling it would be Oosthuizen's day. He's got to win the Masters so that shot can find its place in history. It's too big, too rare. He can't make that double eagle and not win the tournament. Right?
Oosthuizen's albatross propels him two strokes clear of the field. Watson birdies the 2nd, leaving him four behind his playing partner. On a firm, fast setup, none of the contenders are going low. Oosty plays the next 10 holes in two over par but remains atop the leaderboard. When Bubba three-putts from the fringe on 12, he falls two off the lead and into a funk.
Watson: After that bogey, I'm thinking I probably can't win. I'm thinking, Well, finish strong and maybe get a top five. Then all the craziness began.
Watson regroups on the par-5 13th hole, reaching the green with a nine-iron (!) and two-putting for his first birdie since the 5th. But Oosthuizen makes his first birdie of the day to remain two ahead of his playing partner.
Angie Watson, Bubba's wife: Thirteen was when I started to get nervous. He played that hole so confidently I felt like he was going to keep making birdies.