TEN months after a stuttering, bewildered, flustered, frightened finish to an Open Championship he should have won, Adam Scott found the nerve, the will and the long-putter putting stroke to consign those demons to the nearest bin.
Sooner or later, of course, he will have to toss the long putter that has revolutionised his game into another bin. Prior to picking up the big stick he was a poor and getting poorer putter. Being able to anchor the grip against his sternum has steadied everything especially, presumably, his nerve as well as his confidence. These are basically the same thing.
When that change will come remains to be seen but at 32 I’d be surprised to see this nice Aussie switch anything until he absolutely has to. Why should he? After all he has eleven Majors before the ban comes into effect and he can win at least two or three of these. That’s a career in itself.
However, if his Masters win clinches a long-putter Grand Slam (Keegan Bradley, Web Simpson, Els, Scott) it was his driver more than any oher club that won this Masters. No-one in the game drives longer and straighter than Adam. His long-term mentor Greg Norman – generally recognised as the best driver of modern times – said last night that Scott is now better than he ever was.
Believe me, this is a big compliment.
But then it was Norman who selected Scott as a captain’s pick for the President’s Cup when the player was struggling not to drift too far away from the game’s sharpest peaks and a golden career that had seemed his for the taking. It was Norman who invited him to his Florida home and spent days building up his self-esteem.
It is neatly appropriate that this should be Norman’s role in Scott’s development. The Great White Thingy never won the Masters, of course, but he has his fingerprints all over this one. So good luck to Adam, as decent and grounded a superstar as you could meet. Crikey, he even admits he reads books and actually goes to art galleries. In the sports world this places him right up there just under Einstein.
Good luck too to Angel Cabrera. Recently divorced, recently made a grandfather, the chubby Argentinian was until this Masters forgotten by everyone except his ex-wife and his new girlfriend. Ranked 269 in the world when he strode down the first fairway no-one thought of him when discussing potential winners.
Cabrera was along for the ride surely and to give his son a treat as his caddy. Predicting his performances is harder than forecasting the weather in Tallahassee. On this Sunday he was, like everyone else, wet but quite brilliant at times. His approach to the 18th in normal time was an exquisite response to Scott’s birdie minutes earlier.
Britain’s much vaunted challenge? I don’t have the words right now.
Tianlang Guan? I’m speechless.
The Ashes? England’s.
Been a mostly fascinating Masters. Until next time, bye-bye.