How does Adam Scott slot into Australia’s greatest sporting achievements?
We’ll be talking about Adam Scott’s superb success at Augusta for months, and rightfully so as the first Australian to break the 77-year Masters drought.
It was a clinical and courageous victory, and hopefully the first of more majors.
We have to go back 60 years to Peter Thomson and his five British Opens in 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, and 1965 – and his seconds in 1952, 1953, and 1957. In seven successive years, no worse than runner-up.
No golfer has come within a binocular distance of those stats.
Then there’s The Don with a monster Test average of 99.94, more than 50% better than the closest retired batsman Graeme Pollock’s 60.97.
And even though he retired in 1948, Don Bradman is still the only Australian batsman to pass 100 first-class centuries with 117, the closest Justin Langer with 86, Darren Lehmann 82, Mark Waugh 81, Steve Waugh 79, Matt Hayden 79, and Stuart Law 79.
Ricky Ponting with 80 by far the best of the current batsmen. Can he score 20 more before he retires?
The Don scored 17 first-class tons in his last year when he turned 40, Ponting is 38.
On the Olympic track we’ve has four great moments.
In 1952 Marjorie Jackson created history as the first Australian women to win the sprint double – the 100 and 200.
In 1956 Betty Cuthbert went one better with the 100, 200, and relay and eight years later added a fourth gold with victory in the inaugural 400.
Rome 1960 and the magnificent 1500 run by Herb Elliott, smashing his own world record and winning by 30m, still the record margin for the event. Elliott was never beaten over the mile or 1500 and retied at 23, with nothing left to prove.
And Sydney 2000, when Cathy Freeman stopped the nation with her 400 gold. What a night that was.
Heather McKay won 16 successive British squash Opens from 1962 to 1977. When she retired at 40 she had only been beaten twice in nearly 20 years early in her career, Heather was also a Hockeyroo and the champion racquetballer of Canada.
Rod Laver won two Grand Slams, 1962 as an amateur, and 1969 as a pro, the only two-timer, Margaret Court won her Grand Slam in 1970.
Kay Cottee was the first women to sail single-handedly and non-stop around the world, it took her 189 days in 1988 and was named Australian of the Year.
Dawn Fraser was the first women to crack the minute for the 100m freestyle with 59.9 then broke that with 58.9. The second world record wasn’t broken until 1973, eight years after Dawn retired.
Cadel Evans’ 2011 Tour de France win is right up there, with thanks to Phil Anderson for hanging in there in the early days to give Australia some recognition.
In 1952 Jimmy Carruthers became Australia’s first official world boxing champion when he hammered Vic Towell in Johannesburg. Carruthers landed 147 punches in 139 seconds to knock Towell out, the South African threw one punch that missed.
The Americas Cup win in 1983, ended 132 years of American domination. Memorable moments for John Bertrand, Alan Bond, and the whole of Australia.
Queensland’s seven-year State of Origin domination from 2006 deserves special mention, so too the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cup victories.
For a country with such a small population, Australia sure punches above her weight.
Long may that be the case, and that Adam Scott is an integral part of that.
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