BRISBANE, Australia —
“The golf gods can’t be this cruel to Australia,” Norman said in a text message to friends who were watching.
Eventually, the gods smiled on Scott. And he was beaming.
“Australia is a proud sporting nation, and this is one notch in the belt we never got,” Scott said. “It’s amazing that it came down to me today. But there’s one guy who inspired a nation of golfers, and that’s Greg Norman. He’s been incredible to me and all the great golfers. Part of this belongs to him.”
Jack Nicklaus shot a 30 on the back nine in 1986 to take the green jacket from Norman. The following year, Larry Mize chipped in from 140 feet during a playoff to leave Norman second. In 1996, the Shark blew a six-shot lead to finish behind Nick Faldo.
“I’m over the moon. Sitting there watching Adam, I had a tear in my eye. That’s what it was all about. It was Adam doing it for himself, and for the country,” Norman told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home. Norman was so nervous watching on TV that he went to the gym before returning to see the last four holes.
“I can only imagine how everyone else felt when I was playing,” Norman said.
Scott had his share of disappointments, none more than the British Open last year. He bogeyed the last four holes to lose by a shot to Ernie Els. Some wondered if the setback would haunt Scott for his career.
Tom Watson, who missed the cut at Augusta this year, tweeted: “You showed great courage Adam ... and resiliency from last year’s disappointment at Lytham.”
Athletes from other sports took to social networks to praise Scott, whose achievement is now touted as one of the best in a country that prides itself on its grit in international sports.