On Sunday night, it was Jason Day’s turn to get a pep talk from Greg Norman.
The Australian had a one-shot lead at the Masters with three holes to play, but he bogeyed the 16th after airmailing the green, then dropped another shot on 17 after mishitting his approach into a greenside bunker.
The late struggles were reminiscent of how Day closed out his third round Saturday, when the bogey-bogey finish knocked him out of the final pairing and a share of the lead.
“One thing Jason had a big problem with all week was that he gets juiced up at the end,” Norman said Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” “I made a comment about that, that he has to watch that and control that. … He was struggling with his distance control, but he was swinging the golf club absolutely beautifully.
“So I texted him, because I wanted to talk to him: ‘Your turn will come. You’re such a great player. Your time will come.’”
It was Norman who swiftly came to the aid of Adam Scott at the 2012 British Open, when he closed with four consecutive bogeys to lose by one at Royal Lytham. That night, the Shark told Scott: “You played better golf than anyone for 69 holes, and take that as a positive.”
Sure enough, nine months later, Scott came through in the clutch at Augusta National, holing a 20-footer on the 72nd hole in regulation, then a 12-foot birdie on the second playoff hole to win his maiden major title and deliver the green jacket to Australia for the first time.
Now, it is Scott who can inspire the other Australians, such as Day, who finished third at Augusta, or Marc Leishman, who shared fourth.
Even the next generation – and players such as Daniel Popovic, 26, who won last year’s Australian PGA – reached out to Norman on Sunday night. His response: “We all have it within us. We have to use this as a catalyst to take you forward.”
“There’s a deep-down burden that comes with the responsibility of being good at what you do,” Norman said. “So when you achieve that, and shrug all that off, it’s like, wow. And those biceps do pop out, your veins coming like ropes through your forearms. That’s the great thing about sport, and about being the leader of anything.”