Bubba Watson insists that despite his young age, Jordan Spieth will not be overawed when the two of them tee off together in the anchor pairing of Sunday’s final round of the Masters.
The two ended Saturday’s third round tied for the lead at five-under 211, but that is where the similarities end.
Watson is a 35-year-old who has been 14 years on the PGA Tour and won the Masters, his first major, at Augusta National two years ago. He has now played in six Masters tournaments.
Spieth is a 20-year-old who turned pro just two years ago and who is playing in the Masters for the first time.
Makes no difference, Watson believes.
“He’s young, nerves are no big deal to him,” he said.
“I’ve won one, so I’ve got that going for me, you know, but if I play bad tomorrow, I still have a green jacket, so that’s the positive I have to go for.
“We’re all trying to win the same trophy. We are all trying to do the same thing. We are all going to be nervous and we all know what it means to our career, for our status to move forward in the game.
“So it’s going to be tough for everybody, not just guys that have never won one.”
Watson looked the more nervous of the two on Saturday as he battled with his putting, which had been a strength of his previously on the treacherous greens of Augusta National.
Spieth, who would be the youngest winner of the Masters and the first rookie to do so since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 should he triumph on Sunday, in contrast looked a model of consistency as he added a 70 to go with his first two rounds of 71 and 70.
Watson, however, said he knows what he has to do to get his mindset right for Sunday’s showdown – get as much sleep as he can.
“First of all, I love sleeping, and so I went to bed last night at 11 o’clock. My alarm went off at 10:05, so I was fine.
“Then I just played with my son a little bit, my wife cooked some breakfast. Played with my son in the backyard and then I just came to the course.
“I mean, I just stayed in the bed, tried to save as much energy as I can, try to stay in bed and sleep as much as possible because I know it’s going to be draining.
“So that was the key, just staying in bed, and I can do that pretty easily. I’m good at sleeping.”
Two years ago, Watson was in fourth place when he started the final round, but got himself into a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen, which he won at the second extra hole with a memorable recovery shout out from out of the bushes at the 10th.
That led to emotional celebrations and eventually to a year in the golfing wilderness as he struggled to assimilate the extent of his achievement.
All that has changed though as Watson has gone back to basics and back to just enjoying what he is doing as he used to do.
“It’s all about not focusing on the bad stuff,” he said. “It’s about how lucky I am to be able to play golf for a living and just keep going from there.”