BRISBANE, Australia — Greg Norman almost couldn’t stand to watch. The Great White Shark had circled around the elusive green jacket too many times without being able to wear it.
Pam Scott was on the other side of the world, trying to catch every agonizing moment.
Norman’s close calls lurked in the memories of so many Australians on Monday. They woke up, nervously turned on the TV or radio or went online and discovered Adam Scott was still going strong at the Masters.
No Australian had worn the green jacket, though Norman and Scott had been among the handful of Aussies to finish runner-up.
Pam Scott was home with her daughter in Queensland state, watching her 32-year-old son on TV, knowing generations of people were willing him on.
“We leaped in the air,” she said. “We were sitting on the bed all morning from 4 o’clock and couldn’t contain ourselves. It was just such a relief.”
It was the kind of relief that cascaded across the nation. Shouts of “You little beauty!” echoed through suburban streets. Commuters whooped and hollered on buses on their way to work. The prime minister was interrupted during a radio interview for an update from Augusta National.
“Butterflies doesn’t cut it,” Pam Scott told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. of the gut-wrenching final holes.
Shopkeepers at Peregian Beach, near a resort course designed by Adam’s father, Phil Scott, spoke of the pride of having a Masters champion from their neck of the woods. Phil Scott was with his son at Augusta.
At the Kooralbyn International School in the Gold Coast hinterland, where Scott spent his final three high school years before graduating in 1997, former schoolmasters remembered him as a “tall, skinny, string-bean sort of fellow.”
“But you could see he was determined,” Principal Geoff Mills told Fairfax Media. “He was determined back then and he hasn’t lost that grit and determination you need – not just for sport, but for life in general.”
Australian golfer Jack Newton, who tied for second behind Seve Ballesteros in the 1980 Masters, watched the final round on a motel TV in New South Wales.
“It’s a wonder you didn’t hear my yelling in Queensland,” Newton said. “I’ve got to say when I looked at the leaderboard … I thought ‘you bloody beauty.’ The 100-pound gorilla is gone.”
The victory drew plenty of chatter on talk radio, with callers looking to place this moment in the hierarchy of Australian sports: the America’s Cup victory in 1983 that ended a 132-year American victory streak in the sailing event; Cathy Freeman’s win in the 400 meters at the Sydney Olympics; Pat Cash’s unexpected win at Wimbledon in 1987.
Newton has no illusions about the importance of this one.
“I was so pleased when the putt went in,” Newton said. “I thought the way he won it would put a few demons to bed.”