Drought-stricken Bubba goes for Masters repeat

Defending champion Bubba Watson will try to match Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only back-to-back winners at Augusta National when the 77th Masters tees off on Thursday.

Bubba Watson of the United States speaks to the media during a practice round prior to the start of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.

And Watson has some confidence even though he has not won any event since capturing his first major title last year with a stunning hook shot from the pine straw right of the 10th fairway to win a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen.

"As a competitor, as a believer in my game, I can see pulling off. It wouldn't shock me," Watson said.

"But at the same time, it's hard. I mean, looking at history, we've only seen it three times. So it's going to be tough."

Woods was the most recent to achieve the feat in 2001 and 2002 with Faldo having won in 1990 and 1991 and Nicklaus the first to accomplish consecutive Masters victories in 1965 and 1966.

It's not a list Watson feels comfortable putting himself on just yet.

"I don't see that I'm a hero, a great of the game," he said. "But I can see that I can compete at a high level at certain moments. I'm not as consistent as some of the guys.

"I'm not up there every year. But any moment I have a chance to win."

One way or another, Watson will be at the champion's ceremony on Sunday. He will have to give the green jacket symbolic of Masters supremcy to the new winner. Or maybe he can win again and just keep it for himself.

"It's about not putting pressure on myself, enjoying the moment and having fun," Watson said. "I have a great shot at it but there's a lot of guys that are playing really good that are trying to take it from me."

Watson knows his win drought since last year's Masters will have many writing him off this week.

"It's a different year, getting older, different conditions, so who knows how I'll play: I could miss the cut, I could win," Watson said. "But if you're a stats guy, you look and say Bubba is not playing as good as last year."

The 34-year-old American left-hander's pine straw spot has become a favorite spot for spectators to stop and marvel at how Watson managed to hook the ball out of the trees and onto the green close to the cup.

"I would never hit it again," Watson said. "Well, I've been known to hit it in the trees, but I'll lay up so I won't look as bad. I don't want anybody to see the bad shots.

"I'm just obviously going to say I'm the only one that can do it. I'm the only one that had a chance to do it."

Making the knee-knocker tap-in for the victory proved to be tricky for Watson.

"I've never dreamed this far," he said. "As a 12-year-old on the putting green, it's easy to make putts to win the Masters, but to actually do it, that 8-incher that I made to win was a tough 8-incher."

Watson saw some spectators at his "Masters miracle" site on Sunday and joked with them, not realizing they were 1970 winner Billy Casper and his son.

"I yelled at them, 'No, that's not the spot, it's a little over,' just joking with them," Watson said. "I couldn't see through the trees so I couldn't see who it was."

Watson said the only unusual thing he did with the green jacket was wrap it around his adopted baby son Caleb, who will join him and his wife Wednesday in the Masters Par-3 Contest.

"He'll be somewhat caddie for me at the Par 3," Watson said. "I guess we'll be carrying him, so I guess we'll be caddying him. Not quite walking yet."

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency