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With the Masters approaching, Bubba Watson stars in pair of “This Is SportsCenter” spots

In anticipation of ESPN’s presentation of the Masters beginning Thursday, the network debuted two new “This is SportsCenter” spots on Monday.

PGA Tour star and former Masters champion Bubba Watson and caddy Ted Scott are featured in “Tree” (see video above) and “Pencil” (see video below).

In “Tree,” Watson and Scott find themselves in a tough situation when they encounter the Stanford Cardinal mascot The Tree inside an office building at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. As Watson and Scott debate how to proceed, SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi shows them the way.

“When we write a script, we often try to play off the athlete’s personality or history, so Bubba’s famous recovery shot in the 2012 Masters was our inspiration for this one,” said Dan Oliva, Art Director at Wieden + Kennedy New York, the creative agency that has collaborated with ESPN’s marketing team for the campaign since 1995. “We loved the idea that Bubba can pull off one of the most daring and miraculous shots in history, but he and his caddy can’t figure out how to get around the Stanford mascot in the office.”

In “Pencil,” Watson disturbs SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris while incessantly sharpening his scorecard pencils.

Related tweets:
· Bubba Watson on “Pencil” and on “Tree”
· Kevin Negandhi on “Tree”
· Jay Harris on “Pencil”

“Filming with Bubba was cool,” said Harris. “You can tell by the way he plays golf that he has great imagination. He was a natural on-set.”

That said, the annoyance with the pencils was not an act.

“I think we did about 472 takes for the 15 second spot. O.K., maybe 20, for different angles and inflection,” Harris said. “But the sound of that pencil sharpener never changed. It was annoying from Take 1!” Harris explained.

“This was one of my favorite [‘This is SportsCenter’] spots to be in,” said SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi of “Tree.” “It was like taking a peek into Bubba and his caddy’s vision to understand how they see the shots differently, particularly in an office setting, between cubicles.”

“We enjoyed having Bubba in Bristol, and he was a rock star around campus,” said A.J. Mazza, marketing manager at ESPN. “He interacted with our fellow employees and took the time to hang out for a bit. Seeing him and his caddy together in the spot, we got a real sense of the chemistry between the two and why they’ve been so successful together. They both did a great job.”

Watson’s trip to Bristol to film the spot provided a chance for him to hone his skills with making difficult shots. Watson took the opportunity to hit golf balls off of employees’ desks.

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