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Masters 2013: Bubba Watson sinks hole-in-one in practice round

Fun in the sun at Augusta as defending champion Watson sinks hole-in-one in Masters practice round… and he didn't cry!

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

16:47 GMT, 10 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:08 GMT, 10 April 2013

Bubba Watson is clearly in top form to defend his green jacket in style after getting a hole-in-one in a practice round today.

Last year's Champion was playing a practice round before the tournament starts tomorrow, and achieved a hole-in-one on Augusta's par 3 16th hole.

Watson's practice partner Scott Piercy described Watson's reaction: 'Arms in the air, big smile, like a little kid in the candy store,' he told the Chicago Tribune.

High fives: Bubba Watson (right) laps up the apprecation of the crowd after sinking a hole-in-one

High fives: Bubba Watson (right) laps up the apprecation of the crowd after sinking a hole-in-one

Mini-me: Watson takes out his driver during a practice round today ahead of defending his Masters title

Mini-me: Watson takes out his driver during a practice round today ahead of defending his Masters title

Turtle and the hare: Sergio Garcia attempts to chase some unwanted visitors back into the pond today

Turtle and the hare: Sergio Garcia attempts to chase some unwanted visitors back into the pond today

'That was really cool. To do it on 16 at the Masters, I'm sure it's something he’ll never forget. And I can tell my kids that Bubba Watson made a hole in one here, and I saw it.'

Watson's caddie, Teddy Scott, told the same paper: 'The crowd was obviously really into it. any time somebody makes a hole-in-one, if there's just four of you playing with your buddies, you're excited. So everybody was pumped and high-fiving. It was cool.'

Ready and waiting: Rory McIlroy plays a shot in today's practice round ahead of the Masters starting tomorrow

Ready and waiting: Rory McIlroy plays a shot in today's practice round ahead of the Masters starting tomorrow

Rory McIlroy

McIlroy

Face in the crowd: Scotsman Paul Lawrie hits a shot from the trees in a practice round today

Face in the crowd: Scotsman Paul Lawrie hits a shot from the trees in a practice round today

The amazing feat comes the day after the Masters Club Dinner in honour of Watson, a tradition started by Ben Hogan in 1952.

Fans leapt to Watson's defence over the menu he chose for the meal, which Sir Nick Faldo joked on Twitter was a 'happy meal'.

Posting a message to Watson, Faldo said: 'You had a year to decide on, grilled chicked, mashed potatoes, corn, macaroni & cheese!!!#HappyMeal #PlayLikeaChampion,' before quoting a Tweet from a fan which suggested diners got a toy prize if they cleaned their plates.

Happy meal: Sir Nick Faldo joked about the quality of Watson's Masters Club Dinner menu

Happy meal: Sir Nick Faldo joked about the quality of Watson's Masters Club Dinner menu

Hitting the target: Argentinean Angel Cabrera chips on the driving range before a practice round today

Hitting the target: Argentinean Angel Cabrera chips on the driving range before a practice round today

Watson broke down in tears in a press conference yesterday after a reporter asked him what he did with the green jacket he won last year.

He also famously cried on the shoulder of his mother Molly when he won the tournament after a play-off with Louis Oosthuizen, leading to the nickname 'Blubba.'

Suits you: Two Australian fans got in on the fun (above) while another fan proposed to his partner (below)

Suits you: Two Australian fans got in on the fun (above) while another fan proposed to his partner (below)

Proposal

Proposal

QPR loan moves vetoed by Mark Hughes

Hughes refuses to sanction loan moves for fringe players as QPR crisis rumbles on

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 9 October 2012

Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes will block attempts from Championship clubs to sign his fringe stars on loan.

A number of sides have been sniffing round a clutch of QPR's squad players with a view to securing them on temporary deals until the end of the year.

The likes of Hogan Ephraim, Brian Murphy and Shaun Derry have all attracted interest from the Football League.

Under pressure: Mark Hughes can't seem to get his team off rock bottom

Under pressure: Mark Hughes can't seem to get his team off rock bottom

But Hughes has instructed QPR technical director Mike Rigg not to consider any approaches for players named in his 25-man squad until further notice.

The QPR squad has been decimated by injury during the club's disappointing start to the season, that sees them rooted to the bottom of the table.

And Hughes wants every option available to him in the next few weeks as he tries to turn his side's sorry start to the season behind.

US Open 2012: Webb Simpson triumphs at the Olympic Club

D'oh! McDowell and Westwood blow it as homer Simpson claims US Open glory

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UPDATED:

03:03 GMT, 18 June 2012

Twenty five years ago it was Scott Simpson who won the United States Open at Olympic. This time it’s Webb Simpson.

After a crazy weekend on the funkiest venue in major championship golf, filled with ‘D'oh!’ moments, it seemed only appropriate that we ended up congratulating another member of the Simpsons.

Credit the young American, who just lost out to Luke Donald in the race for the US Tour money list last year, he showed his class at the weekend with two wonderful closing rounds of 68.

Champion: Webb Simpson holds up the trophy after his triumph in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club

Champion: Webb Simpson holds up the trophy after his triumph in the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club

US Open Leaderboard

Click here to see the final leaderboard

But it was hard not to feel for Jim Furyk, the pacemaker for almost the entire last 36 holes before he was worn down in the end. Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Payne Stewart and now Furyk and his fellow co-third round leader McDowell. This is the glittering cast list of players who were out in front with a round to play of a US Open at Olympic, only to fall short in the final analysis and see an unheralded player lift the trophy.

McDowell lost his swing in the middle of the round, missing eight consecutive fairways at one point but he fell back on that admirable mental fortitude that has served him so well in recent years. When a long birdie putt at the 17th found the bottom of the hole he found himself alongside Furyk, with both men needing a birdie at the last to tie Simpson.

Not his day: Graeme McDowell battled hard but came up short in his bid for a second major championship

Not his day: Graeme McDowell battled hard but came up short in his bid for a second major championship

Furyk was the first to fall. He missed the green with a gap wedge and left himself an impossible bunker shot. So to G-Mac, whose wedge approach left him with a 25ft birdie putt to force an 18 hole play-off on Monday.

This green, with a steep bank filled with fans, was not unlike the 16th hole at Celtic Manor a couple of years back. Alas, unlike that unforgettable final day at the Ryder Cup, McDowell could not find a putt to match, the ball slipping past the left edge.

Simpson, watching in the locker room alongside his wife, couldn’t hide his joy, his face breaking into the broadest of smiles before sealing his triumph with a kiss. He becomes the first winner of the Jack Nicklaus Gold Medal.

‘It feels incredible to win my national Open,’ said the devout Simpson. ‘I just had an inner peace all day and prayed hard on those final three holes.’

Where's it gone Lee Westwood (centre) looks up for his ball believed to be in a tree on the fifth hole

Where's it gone Lee Westwood (centre) looks up for his ball believed to be in a tree on the fifth hole

Sight for sore eyes: Westwood attempts to locate his golf ball in a tree using binoculars

Sight for sore eyes: Westwood attempts to locate his golf ball in a tree using binoculars

Long drive back: Westwood is carted back to the fifth tee as his challenge falters after the bad break

Long drive back: Westwood is carted back to the fifth tee as his challenge falters after the bad break

So many other players had their chance on a course that proved the great leveller. There was another unsung American Michael Thompson, the first day leader who shot 67 to fall a shot short. There was Ernie Els, who came to the last four holes featuring two par fives needing a birdie to tie Simpson but finished instead with a couple of bogeys.

There was Padraig Harrington, making a welcome return to the white heat of major championship Sunday. How well he played to reach the 18th three under for his round and needing a birdie, he felt to have a chance. How right he was to prove. The bad news, alas, is he bogeyed it to fall two short.

Then there was Lee Westwood, seemingly destined to always be the nearly man at the majors. Perhaps it is just as well he has vowed to keep a relaxed attitude when it comes to the slings and arrows of major championship golf. Otherwise, after what happened at the Olympic club, he might have been tempted to fling himself off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Consider the circumstances. Three behind at the start of play, the Englishman, still seeking his first major championship, had made a good start at level par for his round after four holes.

Bitter taste: Jim Furyk bites his club after seeing his challenge falter on the final day

Bitter taste: Jim Furyk bites his club after seeing his challenge falter on the final day

At the 5th, his drive was perhaps a fraction off to the right. What happened next Well, there was one lone cypress tree that could affect the flight of his ball. Westwood’s tee shot duly caught the branches. Did it throw it back on to the fairway Just the grotesque opposite. The ball was never seen again. Eventually a ball was spotted high up the tree but even with a pair of binoculars Westwood could not identify it.

This desperate break meant he had to declare the ball lost and be driven back to the tee. The resultant double bogey took him five off the lead.

Ironically, this was the same hole where in 1998 Lee Janzen’s tee shot finished up a cypress tree, before falling to earth just before the five minute deadline. He went on to win. It couldn’t happen to Westwood, could it

Janzen’s tree was taken out after the championship. Perhaps they will do the same to Westwood’s, before he does it for them.

There was one wonderfully defiant iron shot at the par five 17th, which almost went into the hole for an albatross before settling three inches away for a tap-in eagle. Wouldn’t you know it, now he needed to make a birdie at the 18th to miss out on the winning score by the sum of that lost ball. In going for it, he ran up a bogey five.

Nearly there: Simpson fist bumps with his caddie Paul Tesori after chipping onto the 18th green

Nearly there: Simpson fist bumps with his caddie Paul Tesori after chipping onto the 18th green

That's the way to do it: Simpson had six consecutive one putts in the middle of his round

That's the way to do it: Simpson had six consecutive one putts in the middle of his round

The action was played out against the dramatic backdrop of mist rolling in from nearby San Francisco Bay. If truth be told, some of the play was so scrappy it deserved to be hidden from view. It looked as if many players had had their fill of this brutal test. Like Tiger Woods, the halfway leader, but a peripheral figure long before the close following a bitterly disappointing weekend.

Woods’s long game remained in reasonable shape over the final two days but his touch around the greens deserted him completely. There were two stubbed chips and what felt like a million putts.

On nine previous occasions when he was leading at the halfway stage in a major he went on to win eight of them. Here, he did not even finish in the top 20. Afterwards he sounded like a man in denial.

‘There were plenty of positives for me to take out of this event,’ he said, repeating the words, presumably in case he thought people had misheard.

Still, even without Tiger and Phil, that’s three majors in a row for players from the US. The great American golf revival continues.