Adam Scott shot a three-under 69 Saturday to pull within one stroke of the Masters lead. It was what he said afterward, though, that has Twitter abuzz.
Asked in the post-round interview what a Masters win would mean for his native Australia, Scott acknowledged the other two Aussies in contention (Jason Day and Marc Leishman) before uttering a brazen challenge to the fates.
Byron York @ByronYork
Adam Scott: Australia has never looked better going into a Sunday at the Masters, other than that one year in '96. Ouch.4/13/2013, 10:44:08 PM
Adam Schupak @AdamSchupak
Adam Scott says Aussies have never looked better odds wise...except for that year in 1996. Yeah, that's a big exception. #NormanMeltdown4/13/2013, 10:44:53 PM
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelESPN
Adam Scott just invoked the name of the 1996 Masters. Like reaching out to shake a vampire's hand in hopes he won't bite you.4/13/2013, 10:48:11 PM
Robert Lusetich @RobertLusetich
I think Adam Scott just said something about 1996. He'll need a crucifix and Holy Water now #masters4/13/2013, 10:44:45 PM
For those unaware, no Australian has ever won the Masters tournament.
Australians have, however, finished second on eight different occasions, never more famously than when Queenslander Greg Norman blew a six-stroke Sunday lead in 1996.
Norman's meltdown would be a taboo subject for any weekend contender at Augusta, but one would think it a particularly inauspicious topic of conversation for Scott, who last year stumbled through one of the most Norman-esque closing rounds we've seen at a major since.
Scott bogeyed his final four holes at the 2012 British Open to blow a four-shot Sunday lead and gift the title to Ernie Els.
The next day's New York Times headline read: "In Scott's Fall, Shades of Norman at the '96 Masters"
It wasn't the first time Scott, 32, had experienced a late-Sunday letdown.
One year earlier at Augusta, Scott held a lead at the 71st only to watch South African Charl Schwartzel sink birdies on his final four holes en route to a two-stroke victory. Scott has also posted six other top-10 finishes at majors without every once capturing top prize.
That's the preamble for Scott's latest Sunday in the spotlight.
In addition to a field that includes former Masters champions Angel Cabrera and Tiger Woods, the world's No. 7-ranked golfer will be up against a history of acute failure that defines both career and country.
But maybe that's why Scott alluded to Norman in the first place. Maybe it's his way of easing the tension. Maybe it's his way of conquering the psychological impediments ahead.
Or maybe he figures if you can't beat fate, you might as well call her out.
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