Exhibition in class
|Adam Scott reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club during the final round of the British Open on Sunday in Lytham St. Annes, England. (AP)|
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LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – This year’s British Open should have been a proud moment for Greg Norman.
Sure, it was painful to watch Adam Scott throw away a four-shot lead with four holes to play, to walk away from Royal Lytham & St. Annes with a silver salver as the runner-up instead of the silver claret jug as the winner of his first major championship.
What should be mandatory viewing, however, is the hour that followed such a devastating loss.
Scott stood before a television camera with such composure that it looked like the interview had taken place a week after his meltdown, not just minutes after the Australian signed a scorecard that showed four bogeys on the last four holes for a 75.
“It wasn’t to be,” he said. “That’s golf, isn’t it?”
Then, he was whisked away to the media center and answered every question with clarity and honesty, and without excuses. As he stepped outside, he met with four Australian reporters – one who was in London for the Olympics and came over to see Australia’s first major champion in 6 years – and answered the same questions. Afterward, Scott shook their hands without prompting.
For Scott to be linked with Norman is expected. Norman lost far more majors than he won through a combination of bad golf and bad luck. To no one’s surprise, it was that six-shot lead he squandered at the 1996 Masters that came up more than once on Sunday.
“Greg was my hero when I was a kid, and I thought he was a great role model, how he handled himself in victory and defeat,” said Scott, who wept as a teenager when the Shark blew up at Augusta National against Nick Faldo. “He set a good example for us.”
Norman was the only player to lose all four majors in a playoff in stroke play. Being compared with him can be twisted into a joke. But few players were better at handling defeat than Norman, perhaps because he had so much practice.
Before his 2001 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Norman said his resilience was his strength.
“What’s done is done,” he said “You cannot change history, even though you want to blame yourself for some and blame history for others. I’ve never really dwelled in the past.”
Scott would do well to follow that advice, too.
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