Elusive Masters title drives Australians
Augusta (Georgia): Jason Day calls the Masters `the Holy Grail` of Australian sport. Adam Scott says it is a rare sporting hurdle that no-one in Australia has managed to get over.
But both men agree it is only a matter of time before an Australian is presented with the winner`s green jacket, and believe it could come as early as this week with six Australians in the field.
The pair almost ended the drought themselves last year when they finished tied for second at Augusta National but were denied by an extraordinary finish from South African Charl Schwartzel, who birdied the last four holes to win by two shots.
"It`s going to happen, for sure," said Scott. "We have a lot of great players and I think it`s just coincidence that it has not happened. One year someone is going to get across the line.
"It`s one of those sporting hurdles that no Australian has gotten over, and it may be one of the last ones for the sports that we play in our country, after Cadel Evans won the Tour de France last year."
Scott, who is playing in his 11th Masters this week, has adopted an unconventional approach to the tournament in the belief he may have unlocked the key to winning through his performance last year.
Instead of playing a lot of tournaments, Scott took an extended break before last year`s Masters in the hope that he would play better fresh. It worked.
"If you look at the best players in history, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger (Woods) certainly have done that and were very successful at it," Scott said.
"I don`t think I need to play a lot to be competitive and be sharp. You can get here, be fresh, and if you`re fresh in your mind, you can be sharp out there and not make the poor mistakes."
Scott has also arrived at Augusta National with a new caddie, Woods` former bagman Steve Williams, and expects his experience could give him an edge if he is in contention late on Sunday.
"He`s been caddying 30-plus years, and he`s obviously been very successful everywhere," Scott said.
"He`s got a great knowledge of this golf course and hopefully at some point there`s going to be that time when his knowledge shines through for us."
Day was a revelation when he made his Masters debut last year and backed up his performance by finishing outright second at the U.S. Open.
The 24-year-old has played just four events this year, making the cut each time, and returns to Augusta confident his first major win is not too far away.
"I feel like I`ve learnt a lot. I feel like I`m a lot more comfortable playing out here and playing against the best players in the world," he said.
"I just have get over that hurdle and just put myself into contention, and hopefully I can win one soon.
"For me, this is the Holy Grail to win this tournament. I do believe that an Australian will win it soon."