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Great Scott: Aussie finally dons green at Augusta

Monday - 4/15/2013, 2:34pm  ET

Bubba Watson, left, helps Adam Scott, of Australia, put on his green jacket after winning the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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PAUL NEWBERRY
AP National Writer

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- Adam Scott strolled into the room, looking quite dapper in green.

He let out a deep sigh and struggled to contain his emotions -- the thoughts of Greg Norman, the folks Down Under, the dad he hugged so tight alongside the 10th green.

It sure felt a lot different than the last time Scott was summoned to the media room at the end of a major championship.

That was Lytham, where he had to answer for throwing away a seemingly sure victory in the British Open with bogeys on the last four holes.

This was Augusta, where he reveled in the biggest win of his career Sunday evening.

Less than eight months apart, everything changed.

Now, he's Adam Scott, major champion.

"What an incredible day," he said. "Everything fell my way in the end. You just never know."

Using one of those big putters, Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters, beating Angel Cabrera on the second hole of a stirring playoff played in a steady rain and dwindling light, finally settling down in the hollow that is the 10th green, amid the towering Georgia pines.

Cabrera's 15-foot putt rolled up right next to the hole and stopped. When Scott's 12-footer dropped in the cup, he pumped his arms furiously and screamed toward the gray, darkening sky -- quite a celebration for a guy who's always been accused of being a little too laid-back.

No one would've said that on this day.

"I was pumped," he said.

For Scott, this victory was sweet on so many levels.

Certainly, there was a measure of payback for what happened last July at the British Open, where Scott played beautifully for three days and 14 holes and seemed to have a stranglehold on the claret jug. Then he bogeyed the 15th hole. And the 16th. And the 17th. And, stunningly, the 18th, surrendering the title to Ernie Els.

Scott handled the staggering defeat with amazing grace, vowing to somehow "look back and take the positives from it." But no one knew if he might go the way of Ed Sneed or Jean Van de Velde, golfers who threw away majors and never came close to winning another.

For Scott, there are no such worries.

Lytham is redeemed.

"Golf gives," Cabrera said, "and golf takes."

No one knows that more than Norman, a runner-up three times at Augusta National, a third-place finisher three other times, but never a winner. This one was for him, too.

"He inspired a nation of golfers," Scott said. "Part of this is for him because he's given me so much time and inspiration and belief. I drew on that a lot."

In a grander scheme, this victory was for an entire continent. Australia has produced some greats of the game over the last half-century but never a Masters champion. Until now.

They're on top of the world Down Under.

"We are a proud sporting nation and like to think we are the best at everything," Scott said with a mischievous grin. "This is the one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve. It's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win."

Norman was so nervous watching TV at his home in south Florida that he went to the gym when the final group made the turn. He returned for the last four holes and was texting with friends as his emotions shifted with every putt. Coming down the stretch, three Aussies -- Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman -- actually had a chance to win.

Scott brought it home.

"I'm over the moon," Norman told The Associated Press. "Sitting there watching Adam, I had a tear in my eye. That's what it was all about. It was Adam doing it for himself, and for the country."

For Cabrera, a burly, 43-year-old from Argentina, the majors have been a big giver. His last victory on the PGA or European tours before Sunday? The 2009 Masters. Before that? The 2007 U.S. Open.

In other words, Cabrera doesn't win often, but when he does, it's usually a pretty significant victory.

He almost got another one, trying with Scott in regulation at 9-under 279.

"I had a lot of peace of mind and I was very confident," said Cabrera, who closed with a 2-under 70. "I knew that it depended on me. I knew that (the other contenders) can make some birdies, but I still was thinking that it depended on me."

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