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Revival puts Bubba & Manny on top again

Published on Apr 15, 2014 1:41 PM

Two men, one half-naked and all refined athleticism, the other lumbering and over-dressed, his shirt buttoned up. Two arenas, one roughly 20 x 20 feet with no place to hide, the other 7,435 yards where even the best look lost. Two crowds, one hollering for blood in a Las Vegas coliseum, the other reverential in a green church called Augusta. Two prizes, to be won and worn, one a tidy, green jacket, the other a gaudy, over-sized belt.

And two performers, of athletic middle-age, both chasing the most ancient of sporting stories.

The comeback.

The compact boxer Manny Pacquiao, who wanted his WBO welterweight title back, and the rangy golfer Bubba Watson, craving a new green jacket in his closet, are divided not just by 22cm of height. One might say one man uses a club in his fists and the other uses his fists to club.

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Background story

Everyone revels in the comeback - just ask Liverpool and that other mid-30s marvel Steven Gerrard - for it plays into life's most elemental struggle: hope versus adversity.


Learning to be a dad and then learning to have a green jacket with you is two big things to adjust to. It took me a year or so to get adjusted.

– Twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, who adopted a child, Caleb, in 2012


I’m not trying to play golf for everybody to tell me how great I am or I’m one of the greats of the game. I play golf because I love it. The game has brought me everything that I’ve ever owned in my life.

– Watson, on his motivation


Why Bubba Watson from Bagdad, Florida? Why is he winning? I just always ask the question, why? Why me? That’s why I’m always going to cry.

– Watson, on getting emotional


Last year was a rough year with the pressure of Bubba trying to prove himself (as defending Masters champion). But this year his attitude has been great. It has been really fun.

– Watson’s caddie Ted Scott