Australia’s Greatest Golfer: Adam Scott v Rod Pampling

A former Caboolture Golf Club greenkeeper up against a child prodigy and son of a PGA Professional.

If you were making a Disney movie Rod Pampling and Adam Scott would go head-to-head in the final round, the gritty underdog up against the dashing superstar on the rise.

And, as Pampling has proven on a number of occasions throughout his career, there is plenty of fight in this underdog.

For all of their differences there are similarities between our latest third-round combatants in the countdown to identifying Australia’s Greatest Golfer.

Both had their grounding in golf on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Pampling tending to the fairways as a teenager at Caboolture before completing his traineeship at Bribie Island Golf Club. Scott, born in Adelaide, moved to Queensland with his family when he was nine, first on the Sunshine Coast and later the Gold Coast where he completed his schooling at The Hills International School.

As Scott was gaining recognition as a junior for the classical look of his swing and the tournament wins he was accumulating, Pampling quickly became renowned for the quality of his ball-striking, a powerful move through the ball making him a formidable player.

Five years after turning professional and eight months shy of his 30th birthday Pampling claimed his maiden professional title at the 1999 Canon Challenge, finishing three strokes clear of a 21-year-old Victorian by the name of Geoff Ogilvy.

Shortly afterwards Pampling teamed up with fellow Gary Edwin disciple Paul Gow and criss-crossed America by car playing any tournament that would have them, ultimately graduating to the secondary Tour, twice losing in a playoff in the 2001 season but doing enough to graduate to the PGA TOUR the following year.

He became a PGA TOUR winner for the first time in 2004 when an eagle at the 71st hole banked five points in the modified stableford format to win The International, rose to a career high of 22 in the world on the back of his win at the 2006 Bay Hill Invitational and then shot 60 in the first round and held off Brooks Koepka on Sunday to claim the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open a decade later, extending his PGA TOUR career into an 18th year in 2019 and passing $16 million in prize money.

Although his only other victory on the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia came in a playoff against Marcus Fraser at the 2008 Sportsbet Australian Masters Pampling was a regular presence on Aussie leaderboards, finishing top five at the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship a combined nine times since 2002.

Scott’s resume is as glittering as you would expect of a player destined for greatness.

From the moment he demolished the field by 10 strokes to win the Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship the golf world were on tenterhooks as to what the hot new Aussie export would deliver next.

In his first year on the PGA TOUR in 2003 he took Tiger Woods to a 19th hole in the semi-finals of the AGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and a year later made a clutch up-and-down at the 72nd hole to win the 2004 Players Championship.

That was the second in what now stands at 14 PGA TOUR wins, the most famous of which was his history-making triumph at The Masters in 2013, returning home that summer to a heroes welcome and coming within a single shot of completing the Australian Triple Crown, winning the PGA and Masters titles before he was pipped by a shot by Rory McIlroy at the Australian Open at Royal Sydney.

Adam Scott
Career wins: 31
Major wins: 1 (2013 Masters)
PGA TOUR wins: 14
Australasian Tour wins: 6
Australian PGA: Won (2013, 2019)
Australian Open: Won (2009)

Rod Pampling
Career wins: 7
PGA TOUR wins: 3
Australasian Tour wins: 1
Australian Open: 2nd (2014)
Australian PGA: 2nd (2003)

Headlines at a glance