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Golf Australia Express : May 2013
There’s a man who knew how to ride a major wave to further success. Having captured the 1979 PGA Championship by out-putting the normally unflappable greens master Ben Crenshaw, the sometimes abrasive Aussie went bang, bang, bang. Two more PGA Tour titles fell his way over the next 18 months before he joined the elite MMWC (Multiple Major Winners Club) with his success at the 1981 US Open. But other than our three greatest golfing exports, putting things together for 72 holes in the most intense golfing furnace is something most of our boys have struggled to do with anything resembling consistency. Geoff Ogilvy was touted as the man most likely when he held off a few blokes you might have heard of––Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk––to walk away with the 2006 US Open. At 29 and having already waltzed to the first of his two Accenture Matchplay titles earlier that year, we weren’t wondering whether Ogilvy would win another of the big four. We were wondering how many. Seven years later, that fearless young competitor is barely recognizable. High leaderboard finishes at the big four have been few and far between in recent years. Missed cuts, sadly, have not. Admittedly he has cracked the top 10 five times at the 25 majors he’s played since that momentous day at Winged Foot. It’s hard, however, to overlook the 10 missed cuts during that same span. But Ogilvy’s record positively glows when compared to Ian Baker-Finch’s career after winning the British Open in 1991. Though a shock winner at Royal Birkdale, no one expected Baker- Finch’s career to almost instantly tip off a cliff with an anvil tied to its ankles. Baker-Finch finished sixth at the Masters the following year, but was essentially uncompetitive on tour until he put a cork in his career six years later. And then there’s Wayne Grady, who was far and away the best player at the 1990 PGA Championship, winning by three shots from Fred Couples at Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club, where only three players finished below par for the week. Confident and in the prime of his career having finished second at the British Open the previous year, Grady could and should have challenged for more major success. But the following five years yielded only one top 10 finish at a major and eight missed cuts, as a promising career faded just as quickly as it flashed into golfing folklore. So the question remains, is Scotty’s Masters triumph the beginning of something groundbreaking? Will it unleash a major-winning monster or a one-hit wonder? Was it a case of a talented sportsman putting a four-day puzzle together in a lucky one-off? Or will it be the moment the dam broke on a torrent of untapped capability? What Scott clearly has going for him is resilience, and a handily short memory. Greg Norman’s well documented near misses–– despite his two major titles––crushed him, leading to more painful capitulations and endless unfair comparisons with whichever sportsperson or team happens to have “choked” most recently. Scott, on the other hand, was blissfully unaffected by his failures as he marched down the stretch at Augusta. FEATURE the If history tells us anything, Scott has an uphill battle if he's to win another major.
April 2013-The Masters
June 2013-US OPEN