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AUGUSTA, Ga – 25 years ago, Australia’s small but lively sports nation mourned together

At only 15, Adam Scott shed tears Marc Leishman cursed more than a 12-year-old and his father didn’t care – probably because he did more Cameron Smith was only three years old but knows that his old man Des upset a few things after giving up a daily wage to stay home and watch

Golf has never been Australia’s most popular sport, but the tradition of getting up early to see the Masters has been a ritual in most households, including those without golf clubs

On 15 April 1996, even more early alarms were raised across Australia than usual, with the east coast of the Pacific nation 14 hours before Augusta starting the last round always before dawn.They rose to finally see the great white shark receive its dues from Greg Norman, the 1986 and was wrongly cut off among the azaleas in 1987, was the first Australian to win the Green Jacket

Norman was six shots ahead of former winner Nick Faldo Sure Augusta National was in danger, but Norman was destined to win. He opened with a course record of 63 and held on with laps of 69 and 71 To be in command at 13 Australians were ready to celebrate another big sporting milestone It was going to be one of those where you were when Moments

Mainland Australia is roughly the size of mainland USA, but in 1996 almost twice as many people lived in California (32 million) as 18 million lived Down Under

By 1996 the Australians had conquered the other golf majors in golf, but it was due to Norman.He had been overthrown by an aging Jack Nicklaus in 1986 and Larry Mize’s unlikely chip the following year, Norman had other majors out of the golf course under dramatic circumstances Getting a Grip It only made sense that this was his time

Norman never got that big a head start on the event he had missed On the final lap, he shot 78 at Nick Faldos 67, an 11-shot blow that left Norman five behind the Englishman

“I remember everything. It was a heartbreaker,” Scott said this week. “Watching at home was brutal”

“We don’t even want to think about it,” added Jason Day, “It just wasn’t really fair”

Debriefings have been huge over the past quarter century.It has been known over the years that Norman struggled against his momentum all week and he woke up on Sunday with a body feeling that wasn’t properly aligned, saying his club was bogged down and open been what undermined his self-confidence

A journalist Norman knew well had joked, “You can’t imagine this either,” when Norman left the class on Saturday night The Shark couldn’t laugh at it

Then he heard that his well-meaning wife had organized friends from Florida to fly up and see the final round and be there for the coronation.It didn’t go well with Norman, who always lived in the moment, Not the future, Not the past It was another distraction

This week, Norman is returning to Augusta National as part of the PGA TOUR radio crew while others look back on what happened, Norman says he’s past it

“You just keep walking I never looked back, I just walk forward This is my DNA I don’t make a song or dance about anything that moves me through life,” he said from an Augusta National balcony overlooking the property

Looking back shows that despite the horror of it all, the moment had a serious positive impact on the future of Australian golf and the sport in general. Over time, it became an exciting moment for an entire generation

“The reason Greg is such a big hero to me is because of the way he acts as a professional golfer,” says Scott. “He probably felt like he was (explosive) that day, but he did walked away from the green with his head held high, he talked to the media, he did the best he could He always carried himself so well, at least from what I saw as a child

“He was such a good role model in that sense when it came to being professional. It was hard for everyone in Australia to watch, so I can only imagine how he felt out here. He must be wrong having been around and inside out But I hope he knows this moment is a big part of who I’ve become ”

Day and Scott had finished runner-up at Augusta National in 2011 – another close call.Although he hadn’t seen Norman’s Breakdown live, a 23-year-old was the first Australian to win the Masters It consumed the business card that Being first Australian – the curse breaker – was a huge driving factor. Scott had similar feelings. You were not alone

“What the shark did for us as golfers was huge for us. It was unfortunate that he was here a few times with Faldo and Larry Mize, but it goes beyond that it was quite remarkable what he was for Australian golf has done, “says Day

“His efforts are why we have so many players on the PGA TOUR now. I read that Matt Jones’ win last month meant 33 TOUR seasons in a row with at least one Australian win. Greg was the guy first who actually won this one, but also the guy who inspired the rest of us to try the same ”

In 2013 Marc Leishman opened with a 66 and took the lead Scott and Day sat close behind Day had the lead through two laps All three were within striking distance of the front on Sunday

Day seemed to be the man when he turned up on Nov. Tee had a two-shot lead, but two consecutive bogies seemed to revive the curse until Scott showed up on a 72 Hole birdie was followed by an original “C’mon Aussie” scream – proof that this was not just one man, but an entire nation

Scott defeated Angel Cabrera in a playoff with another birdie in 10th place Green His legacy as a national hero was cemented Scott paid tribute to Norman in the aftermath

“There was one man who inspired a nation of golfers and that is Greg Norman. He’s been amazing to me and all of the young golfers in Australia and part of that is definitely his,” said Scott

“I thought it was fantastic and had a tear in my eye, no question about it. I knew I was carrying the Green Jacket burden for Australia for a long time, but it wasn’t about me, it was about the country,” said Norman the night before of this year’s Masters

“I wanted to do it and see it be done for the country because we’ve had so many great players over time and it was a shame not to win. It was crazy so it was great for Australian golf when Scotty won

“If you play golf you are more likely to be a good loser than a bad winner. To hear a good player and a man like Adam say that he was inspired by my reactions in 1996, or even if a random person it says this is the victory you have right there

“It tells me I did things right in life. Sometimes I’ve got a label that I had too much ego, but I feel the opposite. And these moments help prove it”

This week’s five Australians – Scott, Day, Leishman, Smith and Jones – obviously all want to win the Green Jacket They want to win it for themselves and their families But like Norman before them, they want to win it for their country too

“It would be nice if one of us won this anniversary,” said Smith, who finished second last year. “If it’s not me, I definitely hope it’s one of the other boys we’re a close and close one Group, and it sure would be a good story I’m sure the shark would get a kick out of it ”

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