“It’s about bloody time Adam.”
Those personal words muttered by Greg Norman to Adam Scott after handing his protégé the Stonehaven Cup perhaps best sum up the young Queenslander’s first major win on home soil.
It has been a long time coming and nobody knows that better than Scott.
“It has been close down here before, but I never got over the line. I think that makes this even sweeter and it also being the Aussie Open, just means that little bit more,” Scott said.
Scott had said all week he ranked winning the Australian Open just one rung below winning a major.
To win it at the end of a year he had previously described a “shitty” just further reinforced the bizarre nature of golf.
The American golf media are fond of making lists like “Top ten golfers who haven’t won a major” and in those lists Scott has long come top or near to it.
In fact, lately he has probably slipped on those lists just like he slipped from World No 3 to No 54.
His five stroke victory over a valiant Stuart Appleby on Sunday at the New South Wales Golf Club got at least one of those monkeys off his back.
“An Aussie Open for an Australian, that’s what you want on the shelf,” Scott said.
Referring to the many names of golfing greats on the trophy (including the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman and Tom Watson) he was obviously checking out on the cup during the presentation ceremony he said: “I’m very proud to be a part of that group for a lot of reasons, but I think there are only probably a few trophies in the world outside a major that would have a list of guys look like this.”
Given his sometime party boy image, Scott is a surprisingly quietly spoken and reflective person. His Queensland heritage comes to the fore at times when he slips in the occasionally “colourful” expression.
The Queen might of said his year was a “annus horribilis”. He just said it was “shitty.”
And he says people might get the wrong impression at times from his laid back exterior.
“I thought I had a lot of the support from the public and hopefully it helps the message get across that I’m playing my arse off out there and not just throwing in the towel,” he said.
Hopefully for Scott he has now turned a corner.
He knows his game still isn’t fully where he wants but he is confident he is heading in the right direction and it will be back bigger and better than before.
“I am a fairly easy going kind of character,” he said.
“I just cruise along and I pointed that out, talking to you guys (the media) this year, that I cruised along for nine years and thought everything was rosy. I thought I would cruise along and keep winning tournaments like I was and one of them would be a major and that didn’t happen.
“But sometimes you have to get down and dirty, get your hands dirty a little bit, and put in that extra effort. I don’t necessarily show that on the outside. That’s not my nature.”
Asked how it felt to be handed the trophy by Greg Norman, Scott spoke of their close relationship over the years.
“Obviously he is a big supporter of mine and I wish I could have played this well for him at the President’s Cup. We just got beaten by a better team that week,” he said.
“But he is my hero. I have said that all along and he has been so generous to me with so many things and countless bits of advice on the game and just like a lot of other people, this year showing me that he still believes in me and my game and he can see inside that I want it badly, which I can see some people may not see, but he knows me well and he can see that I want it badly and I work hard for it.”
And in the warm embrace Norman offered him, “did he give you a little kiss to the side of the head or whisper sweet nothings?” one perhaps slightly impertinent media representative asked.
“No, he said it was about bloody time.”