It has taken over a half a century to correct one of the great statistical anomalies in golf. Australia, a sporting nation with a rich tradition of golfing champions, had never had one of it’s own fitted for a Green Jacket. Until now.
Adam Scott, with a dramatic display of unflappable shot making and clutch putting, won the coveted Masters prize burying a 12-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole against two-time major champion Angel Cabrera.
Besides setting the historical record back on it’s keel, Scott swept away with his broom stick putter the haunting memory of his fold at last year’s Open Championship at Lytham and the notion that a guy with rock star looks and the talent to match could not win the big one.
On a soggy day in Georgia the leader board was full of Australian flags with Jason Day, Marc Leishman, and Adam Scott jockeying for position down the back nine with Cabrera, Tiger, and Sneds. But most fell victim to the change of pace of rain-soaked greens or the rapid pace of their own heartbeats.
In the end it was just two guys-the Argentine and the Aussie-who played a sequence of riveting shots over the last four holes of regulation and two playoff holes in a most dramatic finish at a place known for dramatic finishes. It would be a charismatic mano-a-mano duel of two of the most-liked characters on the global golf scene.
After a birdie on fifteen got him to 8-under Scott edged the hole on sixteen and settled for par, parred seventeen from the mayor’s office, and then set the mark at 9-under as he snuck in a dramatic 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th with Angel watching from the fairway behind.
Cabrera had a wrestling match with the five pars on the back nine and had fallen out of the lead until he buried a 20-footer on the pivotal par 3 sixteenth to get back to 8-under. He burned the edge on seventeen and made a par. After watching the hoopla of Scott’s heroics in front of him on 18 this great champion hitched up his pants and did his best Arnie imitation stuffing his approach from 165 to three feet to set off the crowd again and force the playoff with a matching birdie.
It almost ended in Angel’s favor on the first playoff hole when his birdie chip from in front of the green did a drive by, staring down into the cup before slipping by the right edge to the agony of the green side patrons. The theater continued on the second playoff hole where both players nuked their drives and hit articulate irons to set up a putting duel on the stage of the tenth green. Angel stroked another perfect putt, up the hill with a three-foot break from about 20-feet, just to see it skim the right edge. The golf gods denied him again.
With the sage Stevie Williams hovering over his shoulder, a man with a closet full of positive Major experience under his previous employer, Scott heeded the advice and slipped the game winner into the front of the hole setting off a nuclear celebration down under.
Like so many of his country’s golfing greats Scott has won all over the world. Nine wins on the PGA Tour, seven on the European Tour including the Alfred Dunhill in 2001, the Players Championship in 2004, the Tour Championship in 2005, the Australian Open in 2009, the WGC Bridgestone in 2011, and the Australian Masters last fall and now the coveted championship of the state of Georgia.
At the tender age of 32, with the old Tiger swing, the old Tiger caddie, and a refreshed confidence on the short grass with his walking stick, Scott has moved to third in the world ranking behind Tiger and Rory and is poised to fill his cabinet with many more major championship trophies over the next 10 years. Kangaroos rule!!!!!