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April 9 2012

1:10 AM

Albers: Wardrobes and a waiting game

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Louis Oosthuizen's crucial two-putt on the 72nd hole got him to a playoff.

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM correspondent

I often wonder if players dress on Sunday morning, trying to find something that doesn’t clash with the Green Jacket. It’s hard to coordinate something with that vibrant green color, but if you win you’re going to forever be remembered in that Green Jacket -- and don’t want something that clashes. If you select an appropriate color shirt, is that a sign you’re a confident player?

Waiting game: Everything about the Masters is different from a regular PGA TOUR stop and that includes the start time. The final group hits tee shots at 2:40 p.m. The late start means players have a long morning and afternoon before even leaving for the golf course. That’s a lot of time for demons to start creeping through a player’s mind.

Gentle warmup: If you read any of Alister MacKenzie’s writings, he says the ideal first hole should be a gentle warm up of a par 4. There was nothing gentle about the first hole this week. The 445-yard hole played to a stroke average of 4.3905, the toughest on the course. The hole saw just 11 birdies all week with 109 bogeys or worse. Of course when MacKenzie laid out the Augusta National, the nines were reversed and today’s 10th hole was the first.

Lucky 13: Phil Mickelson must love the 13th hole. The lefthander can play a sweeping cut off the tee. Through the years, Mickelson has played the 13th in 64 under, including 5 under this week. He birdied the hole three times and eagled it on Saturday.

Practice: At times, Louis Oosthuizen gets too active with his shoulders while putting. Just before his par putt on the 72nd hole, the South African repeatedly practiced a one-handed stroke while his left hand touched his right shoulder. Following his practice routine, Oosthuizen drilled home his par putt forcing the playoff.

Bubba time: Bubba Watson leads the TOUR in driving distance at 316.9 yards, so it wasn’t surprising to see him attack Augusta National. At times his drives are side notes to a tournament, on Sunday they were a large portion of why he won. Twice, Watson uncorked massive drives on the 465-yard 18th hole. On the 72nd hole, Watson had 123 yards to the pin, and in the playoff he had just 131 yards.

Working it: Bubba Watson hits more draws and cuts than any player on any TOUR. He routinely works the ball so much that some view it as a deterrent to his game. All that practice paid off on the playoff hole where Watson hit a big hook from out of the woods onto the 10th green. Ten minutes later, Watson added a Green Jacket to his wardrobe.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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