Expect the unexpected, predict the unpredictable and assume absolutely nothing.

That's golf in the current climate. And it's all rather wonderful. A week ago, we in the golfing media were being bombarded with the question: Who's going to win the green jacket? Those of us who were herded into a barn at gunpoint and asked to give a definitive one-two-three on the eve of the Masters will have felt that strange sensation of wriggling ourselves awake yesterday morning in a straitjacket. This Royal & Ancient game has a habit of driving you round the twist, after all.

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald . . . it was easy to get swept along on the frenzied tidal wave of enthusiasm that had built up in the days before the opening major of the season.

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The fact that this much-touted trinity failed to make a mark on proceedings was not really a surprise. Nor was the fact that Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson emerged triumphant. The only certainty in the big events these days is the utter uncertainty.

The 33-year-old's sudden-death success over Louis Oosthuizen stretched the sequence of different major winners to 14, and 11 of those victors have been tasting victory for the first time. Having liberated itself from the grip of the Tiger, the game continues to be enriched. Compare that to tennis in the modern era and you couldn't find a greater contrast. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer have won 27 of the last 28 grand slam tournaments, with only Juan Martin Del Potro lobbing in a grenade by plundering the 2009 US Open.

Once Bubba had stopped blubbering, his post-play-off musings simply underlined this atmosphere of "anything can happen".

"That's the best part about it, we don't know what's going to happen," suggested Watson. "We don't know the future; we don't know anything. Hopefully, I keep crying."

Sunday's shenanigans at the sharp end of affairs had everything, from an albatross by Oosthuizen to Mickelson losing his mind in the bamboo and Hanson rifling off a full-blown shank. In the end, it was Watson, the good old panhandle boy with the home-grown swing, who took the ultimate honours.

He may not be that clued up on the finer details of European landmarks – his guide to the great Parisien temples during last year's French Open included such insights as "that big tower" (the Eiffel Tower), the "building starting with an L" (the Louvre) and "this arch I drove round in a circle" (the Arc de Triomphe) – but he's now achieved his own landmark victory on American soil. And he's certainly an attraction. The "grip it and rip it" approach, and the colossal distances he can achieve off the tee, may put him in some fairly scenic spots. Yet there is an adventure to his play that makes it all rather alluring. His swing wouldn't look out of place in a lumber yard and certainly won't be making a chapter in the instruction manual, but he simply plays the game the way he wants to. There's no refining, retooling or tweaking (Tiger, take note?).

His astonishing, hooked wedge out of the pine straws in the play-off was a remarkable piece of manipulation. The late, great Seve Ballesteros, who would have been 55 yesterday and who illuminated Augusta in his own inimitable way during his pomp, no doubt would have approved.

As Bubba revelled in his own hubbub, the rest were left to lick their wounds. Woods and McIlroy had been expected to be at the forefront of some Easter rising of sorts on the final Sunday, but it had all petered out long before then.

Tiger's recent Bay Hill victory fuelled wild imaginings that he could romp to a fifth green jacket. Yet he came crashing back to earth amid the odd temper tantrum which demonstrated, once again, that the former world No.1 remains a frustrated, erratic figure.

McIlroy was also afflicted with a crippling sense of anti-climax and an errant putter as his campaign unravelled with an outward half of 42 that was as damaging as the back nine of 43 during last year's collapse. Perhaps playing with the downbeat Sergio Garcia on Saturday dragged the Northern Irishman into the depths? "I don't have the capacity to win a major and after 13 years I have run out of options," was the Spaniard's staggering statement of resignation.

Donald did little to convince the doubters of his ability to make the breakthrough on the biggest stage of all, while the familiar woes of Lee Westwood and his putting are becoming an almost unbearable burden. The look of complete anguish on his face as he was painfully interviewed by the BBC's latest "celebrity" golfing expert, Michael Vaughan, the former England cricketer, said it all.

And what of the good old Beeb? The bewildering decision to thrust Vaughan into the role as post-round prober made for the kind of uncomfortable viewing usually reserved for an episode of Great Surgical Calamities. The clumsy, sycophantic banality was quite staggering. Goodness knows who they'll dig out for the Open. A balloon on a stick? Expect the unexpected, as they say.