Meet the 2012 Masters champion

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Meet the 2012 Masters champion

From Comcast SportsNet
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Sometimes, winning a golf tournament or putting on a green jacket can change a guy's life. Bubba Watson insists he's not that guy. Maybe that explains his ability to pull off the impossible when the pressure was boiling over at the Masters on Sunday. Perched atop pine needles far right of the fairway with a better view of a TV tower than the green, the left-hander hooked his way out of trouble and into history. His 155-yard curveball landed on the green and beat South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen on the second hole of a playoff and turned Oosthuizen's double eagle earlier in the round into the second-best shot on a day filled with magic at Augusta National. While Oosthuizen failed to get up and down from in front of the green, Watson wrapped it up with a no-stress two-putt on the 10th green to clinch his first major, then sobbed hard on his mother's shoulder. A bittersweet celebration. His father, Gerry, died 18 months ago after a long bout with cancer. But waiting at home for him is his wife, Angie, and their adopted newborn son, Caleb. "The thing is, golf is not my everything," Watson said. "But for me to come out here and win, it's awesome for a week and then we get back to real life. I haven't changed a diaper yet, so I'm probably going to have to change a diaper soon." Watson insists the shot that earned him the green jacket wasn't as ridiculously hard as it looked. Mostly because of his attitude. He hasn't taken formal lessons and insists he has never hit a ball perfectly straight. His motto, as he explained to caddie Ted Scott on the day they met six years ago: "If I have a swing, I have a shot." So when he blocked the tee shot on No. 10 into the woods, behind the gallery, onto the pine straw, way back in jail, he felt no sense of panic. "I get down there, saw it was a perfect draw," Watson said. "Even though the tower was in my way, I didn't want to ask if I could get relief or anything, because it just set up for a perfect draw -- well, hook. That's what we did. We just kept talking about you never know what's going to happen out here. Anything can happen." Can and pretty much did on this day. The excitement started with a pair of holes-in-1 on No. 16 by Adam Scott and Bo Van Pelt, each of whom was playing for position, not the championship. The fireworks really started when the leaders got on the course. Standing on the fairway, 253 yards from the hole on the par-5 second, Oosthuizen hit a 4-iron that bounced on the front of the green, then rolled toward a cup that looked like it had a magnet in it. The ball dropped and the South African was the owner of the fourth double-eagle 2 in Masters history and the first on the second hole -- to say nothing of a two-shot lead that moments earlier had been a one-shot deficit. He held that lead for most of the day, but realized as the round went on that there's nowhere else to go after you've touched the sun. "When something like that happens early in your round, you think that this is it," Oosthuizen said. "That was my first double eagle ever. So it was tough. It was tough the next five holes to just get my head around it and just play the course." He played it solidly, if not spectacularly, and finished at 10-under 278. Watson, meanwhile, saved his charge for where they usually come at Augusta -- the back nine on Sunday. He made a tricky 6-foot putt on No. 13 to start a string of four straight birdies. The fourth one put him in a tie for the lead and the leaders, in the same twosome, finished par-par to set up the first playoff at Augusta since Angel Cabrera of Argentina won in 2009. There was a four-way tie for third at 8 under -- Britain's Lee Westwood, Sweden's Peter Hanson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson, going for his fourth green jacket, looked like the favorite coming into the day but dug himself a hole on No. 4 -- a 10-minute sitcom that could've been titled "Typical Phil." There was the tee shot off a railing and into the trees, well left of the green; the two right-handed hacks from the woods, the first of which popped up and moved about a foot; the blown flop shot from a trampled down area where the fans had been standing; then, of course, an out-of-this-world up and down from the sand to save 6. "There was no place to go other than back to the tee," Mickelson said, referring to his decision not to take an unplayable lie. "So I took the risk of trying to hit it a few times." His wasn't the ugliest shot of the day. That belonged to Hanson, who hit a dead shank on the par-3 12th, a shot so bad it didn't even make it close to Rae's Creek. He entered the day with the lead and shot 73. "I think it was a good test," Hanson said. "I mean, like I said yesterday, it was a good test of emotion, being out, how I can handle myself." Westwood got in the mix, but it was a double-bogey 6 on Friday that more or less gave him too big a deficit to overcome. He shot 68, matching Watson for the best final round among the top six. But it's a guy named Bubba who was celebrating his first major while Westwood still waits. And Oosthuizen remains stuck on one major -- the 2010 British Open -- and clearly in awe of what he witnessed at the end. "I had no idea where he was," Oosthuizen said. "Where I stood from, when the ball came out, it looked like a curveball. Unbelievable shot. That shot he hit definitely won him the tournament." Watson is the fifth left-hander to don a green jacket over the last 10 years and gives Americans back-to-back majors -- Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship -- after they'd gone a record six straight without. This one will be celebrated back home in Florida, with little Caleb in his arms and his father in his thoughts. "He'd say, You still need to practice. You missed that fairway. You were under the trees a couple of times. You missed the first putt,'" Watson said with a smile. "No, he would be excited. Just like my mom was excited. We didn't have any words. We just cried in each other's arms."

Adam Silver feels bad for Cleveland: 'Where there's smoke, there's fire'

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AP

Adam Silver feels bad for Cleveland: 'Where there's smoke, there's fire'

When Adam Silver speaks, you listen (or in this case, you read what he said).

The NBA Commissioner joined The Rich Eisen Show on Monday morning and was asked the following question:

"Are you ecstatic of all this news, all the drama that's being played out in all these rosters in free agency?"

Silver's answer was kind of surprising.

[RELATED: Report: LeBron won't waive no-trade clause for any team]

"I love the interest. I'm not ecstatic about the drama," Silver began. "I feel bad for whatever is going on in Cleveland, and I have no first-hand information.

"But I assume where there's smoke, there's fire. Brian Windhorst has sort of been cataloguing LeBron's career for a long time, and he usually has very accurate insights from that team."

Last Friday, Windhorst broke the news that Kyrie Irving requested a trade.

LeBron James was reportedly "blindsided and disappointed."

"It's upsetting to hear that, when you see superstar players who have co-existed -- who had so much success together, obviously three Finals in a row, one championship -- to hear that for whatever reason, there's a sense that they can't continue to co-exist," Silver added. "Yeah, that's drama, but it's not necessarily the kind of drama that the league wants."

The Cavs selected LeBron with the No.1 overall pick in 2003.

The Cavs selected Kyrie with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.

LeBron can become a free agent next summer, while Kyrie can hit the open market in July 2019.

Will the Cavs give in to Kyrie's request? Stay tuned...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

 

Report: LeBron won't waive no-trade clause for any team

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AP

Report: LeBron won't waive no-trade clause for any team

It appears that for the 2017-18 season, LeBron James will play for the Cavaliers and only the Cavaliers.

LeBron will not waive his no-trade clause for any team, according to ESPN's Chris Haynes.

[RATTO: Kyrie Irving needs to be traded to one place, and one place only]

LeBron is under contract for two more seasons, but he can opt and become a free agent in the summer of 2018.

As a result, Cleveland could lose the four-time MVP in a year and get nothing in return.

So even if the Cavs wanted to trade LeBron, they can't.

This report comes out within days after news leaked that Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland.

In an ESPN story posted on Monday morning:

"Irving was tired of being Robin to James' Batman. Tired of having another superstar -- even one of the best players of all time -- in control of his fate. Yes, he had learned from James in the three seasons they'd played together. Yes, he was appreciative.

"But Irving felt the time had come to take his destiny into his own hands. He wanted to be the centerpiece of a team, as he thought he was going to be three years ago, when he signed a five-year extension 11 days before James decided to come home."

Irving is under contract for three more seasons, but can opt out in the summer of 2019.

He is scheduled to make $18,868,625 next year and $20,099,188 in 2018-19 -- team-friendly numbers considering Irving's stature.

Things are about to get very interesting...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller