How does Adam Scott slot into Australia’s greatest sporting achievements?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert


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    Adam Scott wins the 2013 US Masters. (Image: AFP)

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    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.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (88)

    • April 16th 2013 @ 10:27am
      Kevin said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:27am | ! Report

      Mate pains me to say it but realistically probably qualifying for the soccer World Cup either in Jonny warrens day (74?) or the qualification for the second round in Germany ..
      In Germany Australia were against brazil Croatia and Japan , pretty serious opposition …

      And Other than cycling Australia has had a rich tradition of success so ” another” win is hardly out of the blue, therefore success by least expectation against world class opposition should be rewarded

      ( international boxing success should always be highly regarded )

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2013 @ 10:45am
        David Lord said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        Good call Kevin, I’ll go along with the 1974 World Cup qualifiers – a great bunch of blokes – with Rale Rasic the coach, Peter Wilson the skipper, Johnny Warren the senior player, Ray Richards, Manfred Schafer, Atti Abonyi, and Adrian Alston. They were trail-blazers when the sport was called soccer, and still should be. No-one really gave a damn about it, except the truly dedicated and that was the vast minority.

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:07am
          kevin said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          yes, as a casual observer i see everyone jumping on the john Aloisi goal and subsequent qualification, good on them! but surely that 74 side achieved just as much ( and like i said 16 team comp maybe more?) with bugger all of the resources..

    • Columnist

      April 16th 2013 @ 10:29am
      Geoff Parkes said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      David, that was a great win yesterday and it was also fantastic to have 3 Australians in real contention during the final round.

      But in the cold light of day, is his win any more meritorious than Ogilvy’s US Open? or IBF’s British Open? I don’t think so. By all means if this is the first of a few major wins then he will rightly be ranked up there with Peter Thomson and all the other greats that you list. But for now, rather than try to slot him in to some immortal list we should probably enjoy it for what it is – Augusta is special and it takes something really special to win there.

      As a side note, I see Steve Williams quoted in the NZ press claiming credit for giving Adam the line for the final putt. Which now gives “him” 4 Masters… Hmmm…. I guess we can’t really rank Scott all that highly then if it was all down to Williams.

      • Roar Pro

        April 16th 2013 @ 10:40am
        Alexander Grant said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        The less time we spend talking about Steve Williams, the better.

    • April 16th 2013 @ 10:30am
      Johnno said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:30am | ! Report

      My top 10

      1)Cathy Freeman win 2000 Olympics
      2)Betty Cuthbert 1956 Melbourne Olympics
      3)Dawn Fraser 1956 Melbourne Olympics
      4)Mick Doohan, 5 straight 500cc Motor Bike World titles (1994-1998)
      5)Herb Elliot 1500metres 1960 Rome Olympics
      6)Socceroos 2005 soccer world cup qualification
      7)Majorie jackson Olympics
      8)Heather Mckay British open squash
      9)Greg Norman 1986 Golf season, could of won all 4 majors was leading every single one of them on the final round, he only won the British open out of the 4 slams but could of own the grand slam as was leading every Slam on final round. And won lots of prize money a record at the time, and titles that year
      10) Kim Hughes 100 vs a brilliant west indies attack on an awful pitch at the MCG 1981/2

      • Columnist

        April 16th 2013 @ 11:07am
        David Lord said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Johnno, that’s an interesting 10, especially Mick Doohan, Greg Norman in that context, and Kim Hughes. My 10, without explanations as I’ve already done that:

        1 – Don Bradman.
        2 – Herb Elliott.
        3 – Americas Cup.
        4 – Heather McKay.
        5 – Rod Laver.
        6 – Peter Thomson.
        7 – Cadel Evans.
        8 – Betty Cuthbert.
        9 – Kay Cottee.
        10 – Dawn Fraser.

        Let’s have some more.

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:26am
          Johnno said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          David a good list you have. Very good list in fact. I am torn on few I admit. Especially the Cadel Evans VS Kim Hughes one. But that innings I saw some highlights, well that was rated as one of best innings ever in test cricket. Right up there so it was taken seriously by the cricket World.
          But Cadel was endurance personified , Cliff Young style lol, maybe even better than old cliff young the endurance runner.
          But may change by end of day but will stick with my top 10 and Kim Hughes warding of challengers for the top 10 for now.

          -But onto Greg Norman (1986) as golf is the hot topic in sport this last day:
          -Won British open 1986
          -US Master 1986. was leader after first 3 rounds and on day 4 after 9holes outright leader leader but, double bogeyed 10. seemed to be out of the lead. Then final 5 holes got 4 straight birdies. Final hole 18 needed a par to go into play-off with Jack Nicklaus.
          Went aggressive for it, then just missed his putt and bogeyed , and that was that.
          “Crazy stuff”
          -US Open 1986: Was outright leader going into final day. Had a shocker carted a 75 and lost by 2 strokes. But was still the leader after 9 holes on final day then chocked.
          -US PGA 1986 : Outright leader after 3 rounds. final day , shot a 76 shocker but was still in lead until final hole, Bob Tway’s shot out of the bunker gave him a 2 stroke win.

          And that was that. So Norman did a heck of a lot in 1986 and won 4 Aussy tournaments that year, including the NSW open when it was big, and a few other events, and some US tour events.

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:31am
          Punter said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          David I have 1 Socceroos qualifying in 2005, huge. All others was good, but this was huge!!!!
          Was jumping for joy for America’s cup win, Cathy Freeman, spine tingling, I was there. Cadel, what a performance, massive. Bradman, Laver, Elliot, Fraser & Cuthbert all before my time, but legends as I grew up.
          Most I was jumping for joy, but the socceroos qualification I was delirious, crying.
          Yes to me it’s football & always has been, (soccer only because the media told me call it) even as a little boy following Johnny Gray & the mighty Bears in Rugby League every week.

          • Columnist

            April 16th 2013 @ 11:34am
            David Lord said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:34am | ! Report

            Everything to your age group Punter, nothing wrong with that. That’s what keeps us all ticking.

            • April 16th 2013 @ 11:46am
              Punter said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

              Yes, very true!!! I recall the 74 socceroos, this was when I first fell in love with the game football, staying up late at night watching Abonyi, Alston, Wilson, Schafer & the great Johnny Warren. Previous to that my staple diet was Langlands, Smith, Fulton, Beetson, Sattler, Simms & O’Neill.

          • April 16th 2013 @ 11:56am
            nickoldschool said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Am with you regarding the WC qualification in 2005 punter. Was the first time I felt ‘Australian’ to be honest and I compare this joy to the 98wc win (when I was still french).

            It says a lot about the magnitude of this game for me as winning on the world scene just makes things more intense IMO.

            Great lists from David and Johnno too although I probably struggle to ‘feel’ a cricket achievement in the same way I feel it when it’s in rugby, athletics or football. Same with Qld domination in the last few years at State of O level. Fantastic achievement for sure but not on the same scale as an Adam Scott beating Woods, McElroy, Garcia, Donald, Cabrera, Stricker etc. he just beat the best over four days, what an achievement! And to do it on American soil makes it even sweeter for me.

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:46am
          Milz said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

          Geez, Bradman as your number 1. Now there’s a surprise Lord!

          • April 16th 2013 @ 12:56pm
            Fivehole said | April 16th 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

            Why is that a surprise? He should be top on every Australian’s list.

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:59am
          Lancey5times said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

          Great list David although yours seems to be individual/careers rather than actual performances. Two completely different criteria

    • April 16th 2013 @ 10:39am
      formeropenside said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

      I should mention that Adam Scott is, of course, a Queenslander.

      • Roar Pro

        April 16th 2013 @ 10:42am
        Alexander Grant said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        He’s a South Australian who learned to play golf in Queensland.

        Is that what you meant to say? Or are you just baiting people like myself?

        • April 16th 2013 @ 10:46am
          kevin said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:46am | ! Report

          if a tadpole becomes a frog, is he then always referred to as a tadpole?

          • April 16th 2013 @ 10:39pm
            teepee said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

            You’re saying that he’s only become a Queenslander since he started winning? 😉

    • April 16th 2013 @ 10:44am
      kevin said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      Jonno I’m no big soccer fan so don’t have the cerebral to back it up, but i cant understand why the 2005 “qualification” is rated higher than Jonny warren’s mob, who as I’m led to believe qualified for a 16 team tournament, can someone else comment here perhaps and shed some light on this from a football perspective?

      • April 16th 2013 @ 11:04am
        Johnno said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        kevin reasons, at least in my opinion.

        -Australia had a far bigger population in 2005 than in say 1973/74 when they 1st qualified
        -By 2005 soccer had gone far more mainstream, not completely but far more. The NSL had been shut down, no such thing as ethnic clubs anymore, the last remnants of soccer being an ethnic game in OZ, were closed down that night
        -Many aussies from demographics who had never watched a game of soccer in there life watched that night
        -Pay-tv, internet, SBS all that reached a far wider audience of the national population in 2005 than in 1974

        • April 16th 2013 @ 11:17am
          kevin said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

          Mate as a national sporting “moment ” i won’t argue, perhaps the biggest thing we have ever had

          buts as an ” achievement” I’m more about recognizing and applauding the one legged man in the arse kicking contest

          love Doohan on that list by BTW, serious over achiever

          • April 16th 2013 @ 11:33am
            Johnno said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            kevin also with your 16 team tournament point, it;s valid but also debatable.

            Soccer now in the 2000’s is played by far more countries at a serious level than before.

            The rise of the African nations, and the Asian nations, and European countries like Turkey, have raised the bar and made soccer more competitive. So even though it’s now 32 nations, the talent is no diluted as far more countries take soccer seriously now than in the 70’s.

      • April 16th 2013 @ 2:49pm
        Titus said | April 16th 2013 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        In 74 they didn’t win a game, in 06 we had our first win, our first goal even, we made the finals and only lost to eventual winners Italy, dramatically, in the dying moments of the game.

        We may never see that again in our lifetimes, though obviously fingers crossed.

      • April 16th 2013 @ 9:19pm
        Scuba said | April 16th 2013 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

        Wasn’t born in 74, but I think part of the importance of the 05 qualification was the heartbreak that had preceded it in the 98 and, to a lesser extent, 02 campaigns. It was a cumulative effect to some extent.

    • Roar Pro

      April 16th 2013 @ 10:45am
      Alexander Grant said | April 16th 2013 @ 10:45am | ! Report

      I feel things like this need time to develop. It’s always funny to see everyone feel the need to slot achievements into some sort of hierarchy immediately after they happen. We are still a touch emotionally invested in this topic right now and I think things like this need time to sink in before we talk about it.

      • April 16th 2013 @ 11:19am
        Christo the Daddyo said | April 16th 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Finally someone talking sense!