It is a terrific moment in Australian sports history. Just nine months ago, Adam had been four shots in front at the British Open with four holes to play at Royal Lytham & St Anne's, and had not been able to hold on as Ernie Els eventually claimed the trophy. Some thought this collapse - so reminiscent of some famous Greg Norman meltdowns - might haunt him for years. It wasn't to be. He finished seventh at the U.S. P.G.A a month later, and fought hard. He has spoken in all those nine months that it helped him to realised he could win a Major, and that the next time he was in contention that experience would help, rather than hinder, him.
This morning Australian time, he proved that to be true. He birdied 15 to go to 8 under and a share of the lead as Day bogeyed 16 and 17, while Angel Cabrera birdied 16 to then move to 8 under. Scott then sank a lengthy putt for birdie at 18 to go to 9 under, and showed the most emotion anyone has ever seen from him. He twice cried out "COME ON AUSSIES!" as he high-fived his caddy Steve Williams and then his playing partner Marc Leishman, in a display that showed that he knew how much it meant to ALL Australians to have a winner at Augusta. Spine-tingling - and tear-raising - stuff.
Angel Cabrera's approach to 18, having just shaved the hole on 17 for his own birdie putt, and having seen Scott birdie from the fairway and knowing he had to do the same to get to a playoff, was just amazing. Hitting the ball to within two feet was just brilliant, and his birdie took the match to a sudden death playoff. Then his chip from off the green on the first playoff hole at 18 barely missed the hole. Then his birdie putt on 10 literally hung over the edge of the hole without dropping. If you believe in fate, then those three birdie chances that failed by a gnat's wing to go into the hole certainly proved that it was Adam Scott's time. His putt for birdie ran true where Cabrera's could not, and the jacket was his. It was a nice touch to see the two hug afterwards. They have played together on the President's Cup team against the US, and it was obviously that there is great respect between the two.
It was heartwarming to hear Scott speak of the legacy that Greg Norman has created for all Australian golfer, and to suggest that "a piece of this is for him". Given the way that Norman finished second on three separate occasions at Augusta - once by a freak chip shot, once by a freak bunker shot, and once by blowing a six shot lead on the final day - and the other major tournaments that he finished second in when he could so easily have won, it was a terrific thing from Scott to recognise his enormous shadow, and the things he did for Australian golf, and the people he inspired by his efforts. With Scott and Geoff Ogilvy now major winners, and guys like Day and Leishman and John Senden all knocking on the door, perhaps the next great age of Australian golf is now truly upon us. We can only hope.
Of course - SOME of us were at work, and had to rely on other media to keep us updated (as my previous post shows). But it was more than worth it, and the replay this evening was just as exciting as it would have been live.