Bubba struggles in title defense

Defending champion Bubba Watson failed to get anything going on Thursday as he opened with a 3-over 75 at the 77th Masters.

Watson, who has just five top-10 finishes since winning at Augusta National last year, had four bogeys and a lone birdie in his opening round.

The left-hander is danger of missing the cut after the first round.

Since 2000, Tiger Woods is the only repeat winner. while Watson's fellow lefty, Mike Weir (2003), is the only champion to miss the cut in his title defense.

If you look back another decade, Woods and Nick Faldo are the only two players to repeat as winners. Weir, along with Jose Maria Olazabal (1999), Faldo (1996) and Ben Crenshaw (1995), all missed the cut in their defenses.

Watson traded a bogey for a birdie from the first. He later tripped to bogeys on the fifth and seventh to dip to 2-over par.

After six consecutive pars from the eighth, Watson faltered to another bogey at the 14th. He closed with four pars in a row to end at plus-3.

Watson was done in by his putter, as he needed 35 putts to complete his first round.