In arguably his darkest moment as a pro, after having just kicked away the British Open, Adam Scott had a deep conversation with longtime mentor Greg Norman.
“I said to him, ‘You played better golf than anyone for 69 holes, and take that as a positive,’” Norman said Sunday night on Golf Channel. “He knew minor fluctuations can create a major disaster. But he knew he had the capability to go on and win major championships.”
So it was that during a wild final round at the Masters, Scott exorcised those major-championship demons with one clutch putt after another. He drained a dramatic 20-foot putt on the final hole in regulation, then sank a 12-footer on the second playoff hole to win his first major title and bring the green jacket home to Australia for the first time.
Said Scott, “It’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Aussie to win. Just incredible.'
“This is fantastic to see him win,” said Norman, who was watching the telecast from home in South Florida. “I believed in him. His ball-striking is probably better than anybody else’s on the planet. A lot of focus goes to the other players because he hasn’t put the credentials on the board or the runs on the board.
“But at the end of the day, just to watch the way he performed down the stretch, his intensity. Everybody questioned whether he had the intestinal fortitude, the go-get-it, but we all knew it. The players knew it. He’s got the game to do it, and I was just extremely happy for him.”
Previously, Australians had finished second eight times at Augusta, including Scott (and fellow Aussie Jason Day) in 2011. Most famous, however, was Norman’s collapse at Augusta in 1996, when he squandered a six-shot lead.
Norman said Scott’s victory Sunday was a “monumental task,” given the country’s Masters drought, and that the 32-year-old merely fulfilled the immense talent that he has shown since he was a teen.
Norman added that Scott is “a better driver of the golf ball than I ever was,” which is high praise, given the Shark’s long-game prowess in his prime.
“I think he’ll go on to win more major championships than any other Australian golfer,” Norman said. “He’ll catapult himself now. Adam can go on to win more major championships because of his age and because of his experience and because he’s finally got one under his belt.”
The Aussie with the most major championships is Peter Thomson, who has five British Open titles (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1965). Norman won two majors – the 1986 and 1993 British Opens.