Nationals

Remembering the shot

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Remembering the shot

By Leonard ShapiroCSNWashington.com

The Shot.

It will always be The Shot that defined the 2012 Masters.

And were not talking about Louis Oosthuizens second shot at the par 5 second hole Sunday when his perfectly struck 4-iron from 253 yards out hit the green and rolled another 80 feet before dropping into the cup for only the fourth double eagle in tournament history.

That surely would have been The Shot if Oosthuizen had managed to beat Bubba Watson in a sudden death playoff. But it was Watson who stole the show, and most definitely earned his green jacket, with his second shot wedge from out of the woods on the second hole of the playoff.

How did he pull it off?

The best explanation Ive seen came from Watson himself in his rollicking pre-tournament press conference at last weeks Zurich Classic, where he was the defending champion.

Let's just go back to in Bagdad, Florida, where I grew up, Watson began. The big, tall 100-year-old trees, I had plastic golf balls, so I just learned to hit in the trees, throughout the trees, over the trees, under the trees. So when it comes to the creativity on the golf course, that's just who I am. That's just what I've done. So that doesn't scare me. It thrills me because then I can pull off some shots. That's more exciting. I don't care if the fans were there or what, just to pull that shot off -- if I was just playing with my buddies I'd want
to pull that shot off.

The shot, again, was roughly say 40 yards. Could have been more, could have been less, but we're going to go with 40. Just off the pine straw, knew it was going to come out pretty hot. I could make it come out hot, just rolled my wrist over and hooked it about 40 yards, but somehow it got closer to the hole. We were looking at the front of the green. It was 135 to the front of the green so we were just looking at getting to the center of the green.

For me it was just something as a child I'm used to seeing shots like that, so I pulled it off. To get that close was very special. I mean, made it work out. I was expecting front of the green, maybe center of the green at best because you never expect it to be that close. But it came off and I couldn't see it. I ran to the fairway and I heard them roar, and I said (to his caddy) where is it? He said, you see it about 15 feet, and I couldn't see it at first, and finally, he's got real good eyes so I couldn't see it. So I saw it, and I go whew, I'm pretty good.

That's how it all went down. Those shots, I try to pull off the amazing shot, just like we've seen Mickelson pull off shots, Tiger pull off shots, everybody that's won you've seen pull off shots like that. It's something you want to try to pull off, and somehow I did.

Watson went back to being a mere mortal in New Orleans, finishing tied for 18th place after a final round 70. And now the question being asked all around the wide world of golf is this. Was his victory at Augusta National an aberration, or a true coming out party for a man who has never had a formal lesson and is clearly among the most creative players of his generation?

Are we seeing the next Phil Mickelson, a four-time major champion and Hall of Famer, or Sergio Garcia, so creative but still looking for his first major title and even questioning whether he will ever have the right stuff to pull it off?

Personally, I believe Bubba is the real deal and Bubba Golfif I have a swing, I have a shot, he sayswill remain the staple of his daring game. Im hardly alone in that opinion. Listen to long-time golf instructor John Jacobs, who told Golf World magazine recently that if golf is controlling ball flightand I firmly believe that it isthen Bubba is one of the best Ive ever seen.

He knows exactly what he is doing to the ball, and thats the mark of a great player. Yes his swing is unorthodox, but I wouldnt change him at all. I would never change him until he plays badly. He is ever so much better than he looks. Believe me, theres genius there.

After The Shot at Augusta National, I believe. I believe.

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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