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“But I didn’t make a good swing on that one,” Scott said quietly.

Every time an Australian athlete fails to slam the door in a big game, the inevitable comparison is to Greg Norman, whose collapse in 1996 Masters still makes even the most-hardened professionals squirm. Norman, perhaps not surprisingly, was Scott’s boyhood hero.

“I thought he was a great role model, how he handled himself in victory and defeat,” Scott said. “He set a good example for us.”

The way Scott carried himself throughout the toughest afternoon of his life was proof of that. When Geoff Ogilvy, Scott’s best pal on the pro golfing circuit, won the 2006 U.S. Open after a similarly surprising collapse by Phil Mickelson, Scott was at the airport about to board a plane. He turned around and high-tailed it back to Winged Foot in time to join the party.

On Sunday, it was Ogilvy who tried in some small way to return the favor.

“Happy for Ernie,” he tweeted, “but I feel very sick right now.”

He wasn’t the only one.


Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at) and follow him at