All of Australia admired the putt on the 10th (the second replay hole) that won Adam Scott the Masters at Augusta.
Much has been said about Adam Scott’s win – none better than Peter Fitzsimons.
But the win wasn’t set up at the last hole with the last putt. There are several key moments that to preceded that moment in order for him to eventually capitalise on the opportunity.
There are a few obvious milestones along the way:
- It took years of training to get there.
- It took years of performing at the highest levels to be invited to that specific tournament.
- He had to play consistently well (under pressure) for four days before that moment.
- He had to keep the faith even though he wasn’t in the lead.
But this is where it gets interesting. There are many players – arguably even most of the field – that did all of the above.
On the last hole of the last day Scott sunk an excellent putt to take the lead. His opponent had to approach the green and sink the putt (make a birdie) just to draw level. Adam celebrated and pumped his fist when he did it. The emotional high was obvious and it was intense.
He trudged off to complete his scorecard.
His opponent (what a revelation Angel Cabrera was!) played the perfect approach shot and left himself with only a short putt to draw level. Which he duly did.
What happened next is what distinguished champions from the mere mortals.
Adam had to regather himself and return to the first play-off hole. Like a champion he played every shot well, but his opponent matched him shot for shot. Both had to putt again; on the same hole where Scott thought he might have had it won a few minutes earlier.
Scott was closest to the pin, which meant his opponent had to putt first. Cabrera sank a longish putt which demanded Scott had to sink his stay in the game. It was a relatively simple putt of about three feet (a metre or so). He would expect to sink it 999 time out of a thousand.
But if you know anything about golf you will also know that these putts that you are expected to sink. Just the previous year at the British Open he let a 3-shot lead slip over the last three holes. Those thoughts must have been swirling in his head.
He rolled the three-footer in confidently.
They then played the second play off hole and we all know what happened. He had to sink a fairly long putt – one that no one would have strange if he had missed it. And he made it.
But I firmly believe that the previous putt on the first play-off hole was the one where the pressure was most. And that is where his champion credentials shone the brightest. And that shot was the difference between a champion and a great champion.
But most importantly: He celebrated his victory with humility.
And that my friend, is the difference between a great champion and a legend.