What Spells Success at the Masters?

What Spells Success at the Masters?

The two security details brought their protectees face-to-face in the narrow alley behind the Augusta National clubhouse. Louis Oosthuizen stood with his caddie next to his bag, a few feet outside the grill room door. Bubba Watson rode past in a cart. The two men looked at each other, but neither spoke. Oosthuizen climbed into the trailing cart, and the convoy sped past the members' cabins to the 18th tee. Louis stared at Bubba's back. They would face each other in the sudden death playoff about to begin, but whatever they confronted inside was theirs alone. Both men sat quietly with their clubs.

An official told them they couldn't knock in a few putts; chairs covered the practice green, where in less than an hour one of them would be declared the 2012 Masters champion. The golfers passed the catering and floral trucks, setting up for a party to honor the champion. Men with brooms swept away a thin patina of dust and pollen. Watson's mother waited on the course. Oosthuizen's family piled into a den off the grill room to watch. The golfers rushed to the tee, and soon after they passed, a man hurried to Butler Cabin with four green jackets, tags marking the size hanging off the sleeves. There was a green jacket sized to fit both Oosthuizen and Watson. One of those jackets would go back into a closet.

Hours earlier, Tiger Woods changed his shoes in the parking lot, like someone who'd finished a round at the muni. He'd been the favorite to win the tournament, and when his last putt dropped, completing the worst Masters of his professional career, he did a sort of mock roar. Like everyone, he knew what was missing. He didn't wait around, heading through the clubhouse and straight to the car.

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