The untold story: Bubba and the $10,000 ring

By Doug FergusonFebruary 26, 2013, 7:43 pm

MARANA, Ariz. – The artistic, majestic wedge out of the trees and onto the 10th green at Augusta National. The tearful celebration. Slipping into that beautiful green jacket for the first time in Butler Cabin. The trophy presentation.

Bubba Watson finally had a chance to catch his breath when he sat down for dinner to honor the latest Masters champion.

And that's when it hit him.

''We're all upstairs at the dinner and he said, 'Dude, do you realize what this means?''' caddie Ted Scott recalled. ''And we're thinking, 'Yeah, Bubba. You're The Masters champion. This is a pretty big deal.' He stops dead in his tracks and he says, 'I've got to buy Paul that ring.' ''

Paul Tesori, the caddie for Webb Simpson, was listening to the playoff on the radio while driving home to Florida when Watson made his incredible escape and beat Louis Oosthuizen with a par. Tesori smiled when he thought about the ring and wondered if Watson even remembered his promise.

Leave it to Watson to have instant recall of such an insignificant moment compared with the magnitude of winning the Masters.

There are 350 varieties of more than 80,000 plants at Augusta National, but only one palm tree on the golf course. It now takes on new meaning for Watson, a reminder of how he ruined a caddie's bet with his wife over a wedding ring and made up for it by winning a green jacket.

It all started when Simpson had an extra ticket for the practice round that he gave to Tesori's wife, Michelle. Tesori was so excited about her first trip to the Masters that, as they drove to Augusta and he raved about the beauty of the golf course, he served up a challenge.

''I said, 'Honey, one of the cool things is that there's one palm tree on the property and half the players don't even know where it is. If you can find the palm tree, anything you want is yours,''' Tesori said.

She had been asking about a diamond ring that cost $10,000 and would complete her wedding band. Tesori figured he would buy it whenever Simpson won his next golf tournament, but he got caught up in the moment and offered that as the reward.

They played nine holes that Wednesday with the regular group – Watson, Simpson and Rickie Fowler. Jason Day joined them on the first tee, but his wrist was a little sore and so the Australian left them after three holes.

The lone palm at Augusta is tucked away to the right of the green on the par-3 fourth hole. This was the big moment.

And that's when Tesori made his first big mistake.

''Paul was talking to Bubba about it and I'm thinking to myself, 'This is not a good idea,''' Simpson said.

Sure enough, Watson had no clue about the only palm at Augusta National. And when he heard the deal Tesori had with his wife, Watson couldn't help himself.

''My best recollection is Bubba being his normal self and throwing Paul under the bus,'' Fowler said. ''There are certain secrets Bubba can keep if they need to be kept secret. But if it's something along the lines of a bet, and nothing that can hurt you too bad – like a $10,000 ring – that's out the door.''

Watson found the palm and began making a scene, his voice getting louder as he pointed to the tree.

Tesori urged him to keep it down, which only egged on Watson, who continued to raise his voice and point to the palm. Tesori's only hope was that his wife was far enough back in the crowd and couldn't see – or hear – what Watson was doing. But when the caddie reached the green and looked to the left, he was doomed.

''I found my wife in the crowd,'' he said. ''She's got her arms up in the air in a V formation, jumping up and down. And Bubba thinks it's the greatest thing in the world.''

Tesori felt otherwise.

''His face ... he looked like he was in shock,'' Scott, the caddie, said.

In some respects, it was like the Old Testament story of Samson offering to buy linen garments and a set of clothes for his 30 wedding guests if they could solve his riddle. The guests pressured his wife to get the answer, and they solved it on the last night of the wedding feast. Samson was so angry he killed 30 men and took their garments to pay off the bet.

This was just a ring.

And the man who ruined it all was the first to come to the rescue.

''I said, 'Hey, you lost. You better go down there and hug it,''' Watson said he told Tesori, meaning the tree. ''He was mad. He said, 'Why would you do that?' So I told him, 'Hey, if I win this week, I'll buy it.' Webb said he'd do it and Rickie said he'd do it, too. And then we totally forgot about it.''

Tesori was thrilled for Watson when the Masters ended that night – and so was his wife.

''She said I should send him a text,'' Tesori said. ''I said, no, I don't want to do that. He's not going to remember, and I would never even bring it up. I'm rooting for Bubba because he's a friend of mine.''

The next morning, he received a direct message on Twitter from Scott, who was with Watson during the hours after his Masters win. He told him about Watson's reaction that Sunday night when he remembered the ring.

''The look on Bubba's face was about the same look as Paul's face when she saw the tree,'' Scott said.

Watson never thought twice about his end of the bargain.

''If someone said you had to pay $10,000 to win the Masters? Shoot, everybody would do that,'' he said.

Even better, when Michelle Tesori went to the jewelry store and told the story, the owner knocked 25 percent off the price.

It's just a coincidence, but in the months after that practice round, Watson had a green jacket, Fowler won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow, and Simpson followed with his first major championship at the U.S. Open. Too bad Day, the other player in their group, left early.

''It was a cool experience,'' Fowler said. ''For the three of us, we have that memory to look back on with that ring, because all three of us ended up having a pretty good year. That ring symbolizes something.''

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Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

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Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.

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Davies sweeps senior majors with Sr. LPGA Championship

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 10:45 pm

FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Laura Davies won the Senior LPGA Championship on Wednesday at chilly and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two senior major events of the year.

Davies birdied the final hole for a 2-under 70 and a four-stroke victory over Helen Alfredsson and Silvia Cavalleri. The 55-year-old Englishwoman won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open in July at Chicago Golf Club. In March in Phoenix, she tied for second behind Inbee Park in the LPGA's Founders Cup.

''I wish there were more of them to play,'' Davies said about the two senior majors. ''This was a real treat because I've never put three good rounds together on this course. With the wind today and the challenging layout, I think 2 under par was a really good score.''


Full-field scores from the Senior LPGA Championship


Davies led wire to wire, finishing at 8-under 208 on The Pete Dye Course. She birdied three of the four par 5s in the final round, making an 8-footer on No. 18.

Alfredsson also shot 70, and Cavalleri had a 71. Michele Redman was fourth at 1 under after a 73. Brandie Burton, two strokes behind Davies after a second-round 66, shot 77 to finish fifth at 1 over.

Juli Inkster followed an 80 with a 73 to tie for 12th at 6 over.

Davies earned $90,000 for her 86th worldwide professional victory. She won four regular majors.