(CNN) — Adam Scott — the lanky, easy-going 32-year-old golfer who made history by becoming the first Australian to win the U.S. Masters — not only has to contend with national hero status at home but also the role of golf’s latest sex symbol.
Jessica Korda, a member of the LPGA tour who won last year’s Women’s Australian Open, tweeted: “Adam Scott!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A million girls just fell in love.”
It’s not the first time the 6-foot (182cm), 180-pound (81kg) Australian has provoked a Beatlemaniac response on the course. In 2005, during the Players Championship in Florida, Scott struggled to ignore teenage girls yelling their phone numbers at him as he concentrated on his game.
“They looked a little too young to be giving me their phone numbers,” the self-effacing golfer reportedly told a Florida newspaper at the time.
Born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1980, Scott showed early promise as a golfer growing up in Australia’s tropical state of Queensland — a favored golfing destination in Australia.
His father, Phil, said he remembers his son hitting a golf ball around a par-three golf course at the age of four.
“In his primary school days a golf club was the same as a cricket bat, tennis racquet or football,” Scott Snr. told Queensland’s The Courier Mail newspaper. “Whatever he picked up first was good enough.”
His father was the first director of golf at Twin Waters Resort and, naturally enough, became his son’s coach. He perfected a simple swing technique which Scott has used to devastating effect throughout his career.
“I tried to keep it simple and natural,” he said. “As a golf pro, I appreciated the need for solid technique, but I never tried to cloud his mind with too many technical thoughts.”
In 1996, at the age of 17, Scott enrolled at Kooralbyn International School south of Brisbane, a school with a renowned golf program. His teacher Peter Claughton told Australian media that Scott had been a cut above the other golfing students.
“Adam was switched on and organised. He knew all about golf courses all over the world, the great players, the touring pros and what other amateurs were doing,” Claughton said.
“He was single-minded and talked about what he wanted to do. On weekends, he’d plan exactly what he was doing. He wasn’t a kid to just hit balls on the practice range. He’d always work on something specific.”
From there, the golf prodigy went on to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, turning professional in 2000. Since then, it has been a steady climb. He has won 9 PGA Tour events, 8 on the European tour, 4 on the Asian tour, 1 Sunshine Tour title and 3 PGA Tour of Australasia competitions.
Scott has always idolized Australian golfing giant Greg Norman whose defeat in at the U.S. Masters in 1996 became a defining national moment in Australia. Scott is now being viewed as an avenging angel for Norman’s defeat from a seemingly unbeatable position.
“Australia is a proud sporting nation,” Scott told a press conference following his Masters victory. “And this is one notch in the belt that we had never go.”
He then paid tribute to Norman, his childhood idol.
“It was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers, and that is Greg Norman,” Scott said. “Part of this definitely belongs to him.”
Scott has also had to battle his demons on the golf course, which was epitomized by his stunning capitulation at last year’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham in England. Going into the final round with a four-shot lead, a disastrous run of four straight bogeys from the 15th hole saw him finish one shot adrift of former world No. 1 Ernie Els. The young Australian wore a haunted look in the post-match press conference that suggested the experience would permanently scar his sporting psyche.
But as with many great Australian sportsmen and sportswomen down the years, Scott’s battling determination gave him the last laugh.
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