Scott: Greg never gave up on me
One of the first things Adam Scott did after winning the Australian Open, was to seek out and hug Greg Norman.
One of the first things Adam Scott did after winning the 2009 Australian Open on Sunday and claiming his first victory on home soil, was to seek out five-time winner Greg Norman for a special thankyou hug on the NSW Golf Club’s 18th hole.
It was the warm embrace between Australian golf’s past and its present and it involved two players who are among the most criticised of their respective eras.
When many disregarded Scott as a good-time party boy whose potential was destined never to be realised, Norman was one of the few believers.
The Great White Shark knows all about being written off and stuck solid to the player rated his heir apparent, controversially choosing him in his Presidents Cup team this year when Scott’s form scarcely warranted it.
Scott did not forget that support after cruising to victory in the Australian Open, a final-round 72 securing a five-stroke win over compatriot Stuart Appleby, like Scott a top-flight US PGA Tour regular.
“Greg and I have a fairly close relationship and obviously he’s a big supporter of mine and I wish I could have played this well for him at the Presidents Cup,” Scott said.
“He’s my hero. I’ve said that all along and he’s been so generous to me with so many things and countless bits of advice on the game.
“He can see inside that I want it badly, which some people may not see, but he knows me well and he can see that I want it badly and I work hard for it.”
But Scott, who was ranked as high as three in the world before slipping to his current ranking of 54, knew he would not get the critics off his back until he won at home.
“I kept cruising along thinking it (a victory in Australia) will just happen, well, sometimes it doesn’t just happen,” he said.
“And I think the best athletes in the world go out and get it – a lot of people say ‘just let it happen, it’ll happen’, well, no, the best athletes in the world aren’t that patient.
“They go out and make it happen and that’s why they’re the best, they have the ability to do that.
“I had to look down at some point this year and be really honest with myself and say ‘how much do you want this?’, because it was getting close to slipping away a little bit.”
Scott’s moment finally arrived around 4.30pm local time on Sunday when he putted out to complete a composed even-par round before an adoring gallery.
He admitted to fighting off the mental demons as he closed in on an emotional victory.
“It’s hard to hold it all together. A few times today I had to stop my mind from wandering about maybe winning this thing,” he revealed.
Win it he did, taming a brutal course with rounds of 68, 66, 67 and 72.
The breakthrough victory ends a dreadful run of outs for Scott, who missed 10 of 19 cuts (including six in a row) in the US this year.
The Queenslander called it the most testing period of his professional career.
“I kicked a few cats, but I wouldn’t say I was depressed. I think I remained fairly positive considering most days I was beating my head against the wall out on the golf course,” Scott said.
“I never stopped believing in myself, I did maybe for a round or a few shots but I never threw in the towel.”
“It just took me a while to figure out what I needed to do, that’s all.”
“Unfortunately I had to go through probably six months of playing pretty awful, but that’s how that game is.”
“You never know when this game’s going to give you something great or give you a smack right across the head when you think you’ve got it all figured out.”
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