Adam Scott pulled the green jacket
over his shoulders in the basement of the Butler Cabin, out of the rain, but he
was really pulling it over the shoulders of an entire nation.
Scott ended a lifetime of heartache for Australian golfers Sunday when he drained a 15-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Angel Cabrera of Argentina to win the 77th Masters.
It was the second year in a row the Masters was decided in a playoff and it ended on the same hole -- No. 10 -- where Bubba Watson claimed victory a year ago.
"Incredible," he said. "I'm a proud Australian and hope this sits really well back home -- even in New Zealand. It's hard to exactly put it all together in my mind at the moment.
"I've said before we are a proud sporting country and like to think we are the best at everything ... Golf is a big sport at home. It may not be the biggest, but it's been a sport that's been followed with a long list of great players and this was one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve.
"So, it's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win. Just incredible."
Even Masters media committee chairman Craig Heatley, a New Zealander, couldn't contain his excitement. In introducing the newest Masters champion to the assembled press, he said when he heard the roar coming from the patrons lining 10 at the conclusion of the playoff, he heard "about 30 million people in Australia and New Zealand all cheering as well."
Scott shot a final-round 69 to finish at 9-under-par 279 for the week. He and Cabrera finished two shots ahead of third-round leader Jason Day. Tiger Woods made a late charge after losing momentum in the middle of his round and finished tied for fourth with Marc Leishman -- another Australian -- at 283.
The win was worth $1.44 million to Scott and gave the 32-year-old a lifetime invitation to the tournament.
The reach of the Aussies' frustration at Augusta goes way back. Eight Australians have finished either second or T-2 in Masters history before Scott finally broke the barrier for his first major and ninth PGA Tour victory. Greg Norman finished second three times, none more famously than in 1996 when he held a six-shot lead going into the final round and lost to Nick Faldo in a playoff.
"Part of this definitely belongs to him," Scott said.
But Scott has had his own bitter disappointments in the majors. He finished tied for second here in 2011 and last year at the British Open he bogeyed the last four holes with a four-shot lead to open the door for Ernie Els' win.
Scott looked to have won it on the 72nd hole of regulation when he made a 25-foot birdie putt to get to 9-under. It forced Cabrera to make his first career Masters birdie at 18 to extend play, but the 43-year-old was up to it, hitting a 7-iron from 163 yards to about two feet.
"For a split second I let myself think I won, but never count your chickens," Scott said. "That putt, I've seen so many guys have to win, it was time for me to step up and see how much I want this. To make a couple putts to win the Masters Tournament is just an amazing thing."
Actually, he wasn't feeling too good about his putting speed control on the greens, and the rain that fell on the greens throughout the day just added to his worry.
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