Netball Australia hasn’t been backwards in making their move.
The bitter disappointment that has for so long been Australia’s story at the Masters tournament has at last reached a fairy tale ending.
Adam Scott’s win is remarkable in more ways than one can count.
From a personal perspective Scott had to overcome considerable recent disappointments in major golf, namely, the tie for second in the same tournament in 2011 after Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes, and his second place in last year’s Open tournament when he choked and bogeyed the last four holes himself.
From a national perspective, Scott was carrying a country which had never produced a Masters champion despite its rich history in the sport.
Moreover, his mentor Greg Norman had suffered his worst defeats at the famous Augusta National layout, when Larry Mize chipped in to beat him in 1987 and when he gave up a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in 1996.
The question that every Aussie golf fan tried to force out of their mind was whether this would be another excruciating loss for an Aussie at Augusta.
The chapter that was written this morning was as dramatic as the history that Adam Scott had to overcome. For most of the tournament three Aussies were in strong contention. And yet, the presence of past Green Jacket holder Angel Cabrera meant we could not rest easy for a moment, not until the second play-off hole.
While Leishman had faded slightly in the final round, it was Scott’s countryman Jason Day who looked the strongest on the back nine. Birdies at 13, 14 and 15 gave him the lead but he gave it back with sloppy bogies at 16 and 17.
At that point it looked like the nightmare may repeat, especially when Cabrera birdied 16 to tie the lead with Scott.
Remarkably Scott found his putting form on the eighteenth when he sunk a lengthy birdy putt before roaring what every sleep-deprived Australian golf fan had surely muttered countless times that morning: “C’mon Aussie.”
He felt his time had come, and as he walked up to the scorer’s cabin he could not help but believe his one-stroke advantage would be enough. It was short lived, as Cabrera knocked his approach to 18 within three feet. At this point, it seemed Scott was destined to never win a major.
A play-off with the super cool Argentinian would be hard to win. Putts win play offs and Cabrera is a much better putter than Scott.
The approaches to the first play-off hole at 18 were both left short. Cabrera chipped first and it looked for all money that he had chipped in – but the ball rolled past the lip of the hole.
Had it dropped, no Aussie golf fan would have been surprised. That is our fate at Augusta, right? Chip-ins and chokes like the one we had seen from Day just minutes earlier were what we had come to expect.
The fact that it did not drop gave us reason to believe that today just might be different.
The second play-off hole at 10 was even more tense. Both players split the fairway and hit superb approaches, leaving makeable putts. Again, it appeared as though Cabrera’s ball would drop as it tracked the hole perfectly. Again, it stayed out.
That left Scott with a makeable 12-footer for the tournament. For the second time in half an hour the long putting stick became his wand as he eased it into he hole.
It was the sweetest way to end the drought for Scott and for Australia. The two President’s Cup team mates hugged with real affection, reminding us that the playoff had been fought out between two great golfers and human beings.
The commentators described it as a win that changes one’s life. That may be true but there is not much you would change about Scott the person. In an era when we read all too often about the wrongs of sports stars, Adam Scott is an international ambassador we should be very proud of.
He has a humility about him that is to be admired.
His response to last year’s Open disappointment and today’s Master’s win reminds me of the Rudyard Kipling line inscribed for the combatants to see as they enter centre court at Wimbledon, the lines John Newcombe always reminds us of before the final: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster … And treat those two imposters just the same.”
Today it was Triumph and thank-goodness, because he deserved it, and so did Australia’s long-suffering golf fans.