04 Apr 2023 | Professional golf |
Remembering Scott’s moment of Masters immortality
by Australian Golf Media
By Tony Webeck
Kevin Bartlett is a five-time premiership player with Richmond. The first to play 400 VFL games. A bona fide Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame. But to many, he is the voice of Adam Scott’s 2013 Masters triumph at Augusta National.
One week out from the 10-year anniversary of one of Australian sport’s most iconic moments, Bartlett’s live call on SEN Radio lives on in the minds of many.
Due to Argentine Angel Cabrera forcing a playoff with a birdie of his own on the 72nd hole, many Victorians tuned in just after 9am as they begrudgingly dragged themselves out of their loungerooms to make their way to work.
As Scott screamed, “C’mon Aussie” after his birdie on 18 – with Marc Leishman dutifully playing best countryman in a supporting role – Bartlett’s call of “It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!” at the second playoff hole would forever connect him, too, to Australia’s first green jacket.
“I might have said, ‘It’s on its way, it’s got a good roll’ and then I just blurted out, ‘It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! We’ve won The Masters!’,” Bartlett recalls 10 years on.
“To have the opportunity to be live on radio and tell people out there listening who were living that moment in the car or wherever they were, that it was tracking and that it’s actually gone in the hole, was an exciting moment. An exhilarating moment.
“One of the few things that we had never achieved in sport was to win The Masters. And we’ve done it. I was able to convey that to the people listening that we’d won it. That Adam Scott had won The Masters.
“It was a magic moment of Australian sport and one I think people will never forget.”
As the man affectionately known as ‘KB’ shared the news with his listeners, SEN colleague Mark Allen was watching Australian golf history on TV… in a petrol station on Washington Road just across from Augusta National, eating a hot dog.
Providing live updates back to the Melbourne studio while hosting a Chasing Birdies tour group, Allen’s less than salubrious surroundings were forgotten hours later as he and the touring party reflected on Scott’s historic accomplishment.
“We all went to dinner and one by one we went around the table all giving recollections of what they saw Adam and Marc Leishman do,” says Allen.
“Everybody had a little bit of something of what they saw Adam do.
“That was a beautiful night. It was an amazing night.”
Twelve months later, Allen returned with a tour group twice the size, and heard Bartlett’s call for a second time.
“I’d had a long day, they were talking about Adam Scott’s defence on Golf Channel and what it meant to Australia and then they went to ‘KB’,” Allen adds.
“Here was Kevin Bartlett, in the studio at SEN, calling Adam Scott winning.
“It was remarkable to see my studio where I used to work and KB jumping up and down. You could even hear Patrick Smith in the background.
“It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.”
Like Allen, Mark Hayes was in Augusta, but had the necessary media accreditation to file for News Limited from the comfort of the palatial media centre.
He had insisted to his superiors that an Aussie journo be on the ground when an Aussie conquered our “sporting Everest” and delivered perhaps the most comprehensive coverage of the historic occasion.
“It was the busiest day of my professional life,” Hayes recalls.
“We’d gone big into Twitter coverage, including as part of a rolling blog on our websites nationally. I had no idea that there was a limit on the number of tweets you could post before you were suspended as ‘spam’.
“Fair to say two things… I was losing my mind in excitement as the round unfolded, and that I tweeted my **** off.
“Scotty was literally halfway up the 18th on Sunday arvo when Twitter shut me out. My News colleagues thought I must have died because they’d been coming 20 to the minute for an hour!
“When Scotty’s playoff putt on the 10th rolled in, colleague Ben Everill and myself hugged and jumped so high and yelled so loud that we were given a stern dressing down about “decorum in the media centre” – but we couldn’t have cared less.
“Scotty invited us to his place that night and a few colleagues went, but I dutifully stayed and ploughed out story after story.
“And while I’m eternally annoyed (with myself) that I didn’t get to touch the green jacket on night one, I was extremely proud that my reams of copy were the backbone of a Herald Sun wraparound in the next morning’s paper – the first and only time golf has ever managed that feat.”
Bonville Golf Resort General Manager Brad Daymond was also at Augusta that day and made a judicious decision as the playoff unfolded.
After Cabrera chipped up to tap-in range and Scott was left with a four-footer to extend the playoff to a second hole, Daymond convinced Bonville owner Peter Montgomery to make their way to the 10th tee.
“If Adam makes the putt, they go to a second hole,” Daymond remembers. “If he misses, I didn’t really want to be there to see it.”
The result was that when the flood of patrons shuffled their way to the 10th hole, Daymond and Montgomery were already in position with an unobstructed view of Scott and Cabrera’s tee shots for what would be the championship’s final hole.
Twenty-one years earlier, Craig Parry was the latest contender to become Australia’s maiden Masters champion.
Parry led by one through six holes of the final round in 1992 when he was confronted by a burly American intent on seeing Fred Couples victorious at day’s end.
Watching on TV at home more than two decades later, ‘Paz’ took great delight in Scott ending the Aussie wait.
“Absolutely thrilled for him when he won,” said Parry.
“It was just a matter of timing. I always thought that one of us would win it and obviously Adam was the first.
“It’s had a massive impact on Australian golf. Every time we get to Augusta around the time of the tournament, Adam’s face is there. They show the putt that he holes, the emotion that is carried through the screen.
“One of the biggest moments, with no question, for Australian golf.”
For professionals who are now Scott’s contemporaries, his Masters win provides an unforgettable landmark in their golfing development.
Min Woo Lee, David Micheluzzi and Brett Coletta were all contesting the Junior Interstate Teams Matches at Bunbury Golf Club in Perth, relying on the reactions of those in surrounding houses to learn of the result.
“I only found out because there were houses around the green and they erupted,” says Micheluzzi, the 2022-2023 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner.
“The houses were like 20 metres away and they went absolutely nuts. I thought, Well, they’re obviously not cheering for Cabrera.
“That was where I found out. It was pretty cool.”
“I remember vividly that we were stretching in their little club room and they had a few TVs with it going on,” adds Coletta, Micheluzzi’s Victorian teammate that week.
“It was coming down to the wire and a few of us were having to tee off, so we couldn’t actually watch it. And I was one of them.
“I had to go out and play. I might have been on the second or third hole and I found out by the coach, Dave Capaldo, that ‘Scotty’ had won.”
Although he too, was on the golf course, WA Open champion Deyen Lawson was able to watch the thrilling conclusion.
“I was trying to play golf but was just watching it on my phone the whole time,” admits Lawson, who was playing in a trainee match at Sandhurst Club south of Melbourne.
“As soon as he holed that putt the houses around Sandhurst erupted. You could obviously hear it and see it on the golf course and for a moment I didn’t give a shit about my golf. It was just awesome to see him win.”
Early in his professional career at the time, Matthew Griffin was a guest of friend Peter Bellingham for a Masters morning at The Grand Golf Club on the Gold Coast when Scott won.
Later that year, he had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the green jacket as Scott shared his success with the Australian golf public.
“The one time I’ve asked for a photo was with him in the green jacket at Royal Pines,” says Griffin, Scott winning the Australian PGA later that week.
“When he came down later that year and played our events, they just had a different feel to them.
“We played the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne and I was in one of the later groups and the atmosphere there was just incredible.
“Whenever I’ve been at a big event, he’s always the first person to come and say hi and make you feel comfortable, which is pretty special.”
Like Cameron Smith this past summer with the Claret Jug, Scott went above and beyond to ensure the general public got to connect with golf’s most famous piece of fabric.
It ensured, 10 years on, that his win would be as fondly remembered as it was that day.
“His lap of honour around Australia in the green jacket was incredible,” Allen adds.
“That was one of the best things that Adam has ever done, for Australian golf.
“It’s something that I’ll always remember about him.”
As for the legacy that day created, Scott himself understands the stratosphere that it took him to.
“It feels like The Masters transcends the game of golf and goes into the whole sporting world,” Scott reflects.
“Everyone seems to know The Masters and the mystique of Augusta National and the green jacket. I feel like it carries a lot of weight around the sports world.
“Everywhere I go, everyone seems to know The Masters Tournament.”
And the first Australian to win it.
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