For Adam Scott, his only win came after the Open

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“He said he felt for me and not to beat myself up,” Scott said. “He said he beat himself up a little bit when he’d lost or had a chance to win. And he felt I’m a great player and I can go on to win majors, which is nice. We have a close friendship. We’ve had some good battles in the past, and it’s nice to hear that from him. I respect Ernie a lot, and he’s a player who is a worthy champion here for sure.”

Scott thought so highly of Norman that he tried to follow in his steps, starting his career in Europe and wanting to be on the roll call of champions at all the tournaments Norman won. When he turned pro, the comparisons were with Tiger Woods because of Scott’s pure swing that was honed while working with Butch Harmon. He even briefly hired as a caddie the brother of Steve Williams, who spent a dozen years working for Woods.

Being compared with Norman can be twisted into a joke. But few players were better at handling defeat than Norman, perhaps because he had so much practice.

Then again, Scott has carried himself with dignity for his entire career. When he was in a slump three years ago, missing the seven cuts over eight tournaments, he took the criticism in stride and answered every question, even after he shot an 81.

Golf is filled with gracious losers. That’s the nature of the sport. There was Mike Reid at the 1989 PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson at five U.S. Opens, a British Open and a PGA Championship. Who could forget Mickelson at Winged Foot when he took double bogey on the 18th hole of the final round to lose by one shot and said, “I am such an idiot.”

And, of course, there was Norman.

“I screwed up. I really screwed up,” Norman said right after he threw away the Masters.

Els walks away from this Open with his fourth major championship. Scott limped away, hopeful he won’t have to wait another decade to play in the final group at a major. Perhaps another player can be added to the memories at Royal Lytham _ Norman, who by example showed a teenager from Queensland that losing with dignity is half the battle.

Before his 2001 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Norman said his resilience was his strength.

“What’s done is done,” he said “You cannot change history, even though you want to blame yourself for some and blame history for others. I’ve never really dwelled in the past.”

Scott would do well to follow that advice, too.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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