24 Jul 2012
By Luke Elvy
If you’re reading this, you’re living proof that life really does go on.
Sure, it doesn’t mean you’re not completely gutted that Adam Scott squandered a golden chance to end Australia’s major drought or that you’d do anything to change the outcome of the 141st Open Championship but you’ve already proven to yourself that you’ll live to see another day.
That’s Step One to getting over it.
Step Two is accepting… something, which Adam did with class and humility only minutes after the biggest disappointment of his career. To see him smiling and talking with his great friend Ernie Els just moments before Els and not him was announced as the Champion Golfer of the Year, gives you strength, which Scott obviously has in abundance.
Step Three is… to be honest, I’ve got no idea, and I’m still trying to come to terms with Step 2 because it hurts, badly.
Yes, I feel your pain and take comfort in the fact most Australians feel just like you do because as a nation we’ve suffered through more heartbreak in majors than any other nation in recent times and it’s making us ask the question, “are we cursed?”
The answer is no. At least I hope not.
Of all the perceived sporting curses, Baseball’s Boston Red Sox endured the worst - it was known as the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ and it lasted 86 years!
It centred on the legendary Babe Ruth who was traded to the New York Yankees in 1918. The Red Sox didn’t win another World Series until 2004, only reversing the curse when they came from 3-0 down against their arch-rival Yankees to win the American League Championship & subsequent World Series.
If Australian golf has a curse, what does it date back to? What moment in time can we point at & say with clarity “that’s the moment!”
Through the 1980’s and 90’s we saw Greg Norman endure many heartbreaking defeats in majors. Some were through sheer bad luck and others by his own doing. Undeniably the worst came in 1996 at The Masters when he lead by 6 shots heading into the final round only to be surgically dismembered by Nick Faldo.
To this day, despite numerous opportunities, no Australian has won the Green Jacket. Our most recent near miss came just last year when Adam Scott and Jason Day were run down by Charl Schwartzel when it appeared we were in an unlose-able playoff situation.
Come to think of it, why do South Africans feature prominently when another chance slips through our fingers?
It’s been 17 years since Steve Elkington won the PGA Championship in 1995. Since then South Africa has enjoyed 8 major victories (Els 3, Goosen 2, Immelman, Oosthuizen & Schwartzel 1 each) to our single, solitary one – Geoff Ogilvy – the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot.
To make matters worse, in that time South Africans have suffered many near misses too!
Off the top of my head here’s a list of ours (chronologically & apologies if some slipped my mind).
Norman ‘96 & ‘99 Masters, Elkington/Appleby ‘02 Open, Elkington ‘05 PGA, Appleby ‘07 Masters, Baddeley ‘07 US Open, Norman ‘08 Open, Elkington ‘10 PGA, Scott/Day ‘11 Masters and now Scott ‘12 Open.
That’s 11 times we’ve either had players leading going into the final round, falter while leading or lose a playoff. In that time there were others like Ogilvy ‘08 US Open and Goggin’s ‘09 Open and Day’s ‘10 PGA who contended but weren’t the story.
Since Scott’s devastating loss I’ve read countless reports from respected golf writers around the world. Some are suggesting the Shark, while he has inspired a generation of talented players has also left a legacy of suffering, but I don’t buy it.
Golf is an individual game - commeth the hour, commeth the player.
So where to from here?
Will Scott, our only truly world class player at the moment (Day is not far away) bounce back immediately like Rory McIlroy did or will we continue to suffer more gut-wrenching defeats like Scott’s loss at Royal Lytham & St Annes?
Forever the optimist, I feel it will be sooner rather than later and if there really is a Golf God please let Adam Scott win the 2013 Masters. That way the monkey which has just climbed on Scott’s back and the Silverback Gorilla that sits on Australia’s shoulders are killed off with one powerful win.
Maybe that’s Step 3?
Luke Elvy hosts golf for Network TEN, is currently covering the PGA Tour in the US and is a freelance columnist for GolfAustralia.org.au His views do not necessarily represent those of Golf Australia. You can follow him on Twitter: @elvisgolf.