Adam Scott felt the support from the galleries all week during the 77th Masters Tournament, right through to the outdoor green jacket ceremony in the growing darkness Sunday night.
After Scott’s playoff victory over Angel Cabrera at rainy Augusta National Golf Club, fans stayed around to give the first Australian winner of the Masters one more ovation.
As Scott was receiving the green jacket from 2012 champion Bubba Watson in Butler Cabin to close out the TV broadcast, fans started lining both sides of a sidewalk leading from the cabin to the
putting green, where the ceremony would be re-enacted.
There was a roar when Scott emerged and a louder one when Watson presented him with the jacket on the putting green.
Afterward, Scott said the gallery carried him along while shooting 69-72-69-69 and then beating Cabrera on the second hole of sudden death by making a 15-foot birdie putt.
“I felt there were a lot of Australians out there all week, but incredible support from everyone in the crowd,” said the 32-year-old, who won his first major. “I really felt they were on my side a little bit in regulation coming down the last couple holes. They wanted me to do something, and that’s a great feeling. I didn’t want to disappoint them, either.”
Scott didn’t disappoint. On the 18th hole, he rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt to take a one-shot lead over Cabera, who was one group behind, back in the fairway. Scott had seen Mark O’Meara in 1998 and Phil Mickelson in 2004 make the same putt to win Masters titles.
“You’ve seen the read,” Scott said. “You know it goes a bit right to left. I just told myself to go with instinct; just put it out there and hit it. Show everyone how much you want it. … This is the chance, put all the pressure on the guy back down the fairway.”
Cabrera answered with a birdie of his own to force the playoff. After both parred the first playoff hole, No. 18, they headed down No. 10. That’s where Scott felt the gallery’s support again.
“I think going down the 10th fairway was almost deafening, and the crowd wasn’t close,” he said. “It was a great feeling, and again, I felt like they were
really, really pulling for me out there.”
Australians had won 15 majors before last week, but never the Masters. They had finished second in the Masters eight times, including three times by Greg Norman (1986, 1987 and 1996) and once by Scott, in 2011.
After the victory, Scott thanked Norman, who last played in the Masters in 2009, for giving him so much “time, inspiration and belief. Part of this belongs to him.”
“I have been a huge believer in Adam, and I am so proud of him,” Norman told the Australian Associated Press. “Everybody questioned whether he could do it. We all knew it. The players know it. I think he is a better driver of the golf ball than I ever was. Nobody gives him that recognition.”
Norman, who won two majors, thinks Scott will pass Peter Thomson, who had five, as the Australian with the most majors.
Scott said he tried not to think about what it would mean to be the first Aussie to win the Masters when he was on the course. On the eve of the final round, when he was one shot off the lead, he did address the issue.
“There’s no better time to ever have to deal with that question again than if you go out and play good tomorrow,” he said.
Ironically, the first Australian winner at Augusta National came in a year when the number of participants from that country was down. Only four Aussies qualified, the fewest since the same number played in 2002.
It was a strong group, though. Scott won; Jason Day, who led after 36 holes, finished third; and first-round co-leader Marc Leishman tied for fourth. John Senden tied for 35th, but he was one shot out of the lead at one point during the second round.