Australia’s Greatest Golfer, The Final: Greg Norman v Adam Scott

Of all the golfers inspired by Greg Norman’s exploits over the past 30 years, Adam Scott was anointed as the chosen one.

Chosen by the Great White Shark himself.

From the time a 19-year-old amateur blitzed The Lakes Golf Club with a course record in the second round of the 2000 Greg Norman Holden International – Scott’s 63 was the best score of the week by two shots – Norman saw a kindred spirit in the fellow Queenslander.

He became a mentor, a sounding board and trusted ally. But now, like a plot twist straight out of Star Wars, Norman has to go head-to-head with Scott in an online poll to determine who Australian golf fans regard as Australia’s Greatest Golfer.

Two of only three male Australian players to ever reach the world No.1 ranking, the reverence with which Scott has held Norman throughout his career has created a rare bond between two elite athletes.

A heartbroken teen when Norman squandered a six-shot lead at the 1996 Masters, Scott paid special tribute to the Pied Piper of Aussie golf when he claimed the green jacket at Augusta National in 2013.

“Part of this is for him. I drew on him today. He’s given me a lot of time and he’s given me inspiration and belief through the years,” said Scott after the most historically significant win of his career.

Part of belief was spawned from Norman’s faith in Scott to select him as a captain’s pick for the 2009 Presidents Cup.

At the time Scott was enduring the toughest stretch of his career, 10 of 17 missed cuts on the PGA TOUR resulting in a drop outside the world’s top 60. Not even his long-time instructor Butch Harmon thought it a smart move on Norman’s behalf.

“I’m not sure it was a good thing,” said Harmon, who had split with Scott the week before the 2009 PGA Championship where Scott shot 82-79 to fall to a new low.

“We talked about it after he was picked. I’d rather see him take the rest of the year and get back in the dirt and work it out.”

But Norman believed Scott simply needed to be reminded of his greatness, the Great White Shark fittingly on hand to present the Stonehaven Cup to Scott as Australian Open champion in December that year.

Less than 12 months after his five-stroke win at New South Wales Golf Club Scott was back inside the top 20 in the world and when the 2012 Open Championship slipped through his fingers, again it was Norman offering moral support.

“I just basically told him to think of the 68 holes he played phenomenally well, better than anybody else. Even the four holes, he probably hit 60 per cent of his shots the way he played the previous 68 holes,” said Norman the week after Scott’s heartbreaking collapse.

“Always look forward; never look back and use the loss as a catalyst to be a winner, not using the loss as a catalyst to be a loser.”

Scott was lauded for the way he handled that disappointment in similar grace to Norman 16 years earlier and when the now 40-year-old conquered Angel Cabrera at the first playoff hole of the 2013 Masters, he pointed to the example Norman had set both on and off the golf course.

“He’s an icon in Australia not only because he was the best player in the world but because of the way he handled himself with so much grace through the years,” Scott said.

“He was incredible to have as a role model.”

The same could be said of Scott for the generation now following in his footsteps.

To lodge your vote and help decide who is Australia’s Greatest Golfer visit the PGA of Australia Twitter page and select either Greg Norman or Adam Scott.

Greg Norman                                                                
Career wins: 89
Major wins: 2 (British Open 1986, 1993)
PGA TOUR wins: 20
Australasian Tour wins: 32
Australian Open: Won (1980, 1985, 1987, 1995, 1996)
Australian PGA: Won (1984, 1985)
Round 1 def. Stewart Ginn
Round 2 def. Wayne Grady
Round 3 def. Aaron Baddeley
Quarter-Final def. Marc Leishman
Semi-final def. Ian Baker-Finch

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)
Round 1 def. Jarrod Lyle
Round 2 def. Norman von Nida
Round 3 def. Rod Pampling
Quarter-Final def. Karrie Webb
Semi-Final def. Kel Nagle

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