Adam Scott, who became the first Australian to win the Masters after he made a birdie putt on the second playoff hole in a dramatic duel with 2009 Masters winner Angel Cabrera on Sunday, said part of his Masters win belonged to Greg Norman, the Australian who inspired and paved the way for many of the continent’s young generation of golfers while suffering some of the most heartbreaking and gut-wrenching defeats at Augusta.
In an interview at Butler Cabin, where he was presented the Green Jacket that had been so elusive for the golf-crazed continent down under, Scott said his mentor Greg Norman is “one guy who inspired a nation of golfers,” and “part of this belongs to him.”
“He’s been incredible to me and all the young golfers in Australia and part of this definitely belongs to him,” the 32-year-old Masters champ said of Norman.
One could not blame Australians, who have finished second eight times at the Masters, if they relived all of Norman’s past horrors during Scott’s round.
Augusta ripped Norman’s–and Australia’s–heart out three times. In 1986, Norman lost the major when Jack Nicklaus famously mounted his back nine charge to become the oldest Masters winner in history by winning his 18th–and last–major. Norman bogeyed the 18th hole to miss getting in a playoff. Nicklaus had his son on the bag in 1986–just like Cabrera did on Sunday, as he attempted to become the second oldest Masters winner.
In 1987, Larry Mize’s famous chip from nearly 150 feet away defeated Norman on the second playoff hole. Cabrera nearly chipped in his third shot on the first playoff hole to defeat Scott.
And in 1996, Norman led Nick Faldo by six shots going into Sunday, only to dramatically–and stunningly–collapse and lose to Faldo in a loss that, in part, defined Norman’s career. Of course, after Scott’s stunning collapse at the British Open last year, where he gave up a four-shot lead with four holes to play, Scott was often compared to Norman for coming up short on the biggest stages.
“I found my way today,” Scott said.
But it was not easy.
After draining a putt on the 18th hole that Norman failed to make in 1987 to win outright, Scott let out a “C’mon Aussie!” roar while briefly acting maniacally delirious with joy.
As he was signing his scorecard, though, Cabrera hit one of the most dramatic and spectacular approach shots on the 18th hole, sticking his shot within 3 feet of the hole. Cabrera drained his birdie putt to tie Scott at -9 and force him into a sudden-death playoff.
“It seems a long way away from last July when I was trying to win another major,” Scott said. “It fell my way today, there was some luck there. It was incredible.”
Scott ended up ultimately winning on the second playoff hole, but only after he putted after Cabrera’s birdie putt came up inches short.
Cabrera, through a translater, said he was happy for Scott, whom he called a great player and person.
It was evident how much the win meant to Scott.
Now they finally have their Green Jacket.