STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Australia is celebrating its first Masters champion. Hard to believe, but the great Australian golfer Greg Norman never did this. Adam Scott did, yesterday. He's 32 and outlasted both the field and the weather to win a playoff against the 2009 Masters winner Angel Cabrera.
NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: You know those classic, gorgeous scenes, late on a final round Sunday at Augusta? Sun low in the sky, shadows reaching across the 18th green? Yesterday was just like, except for the shadows and sun.
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GOLDMAN: Early sprinkles had turned to hard Georgia rain as hundreds huddled under Masters green-and-white umbrellas. The patrons were warmed by the action out on the course though, especially the Australians. Three of their country's golfers were in contention. But Jason Day and Marc Leishman fell away. Leaving Adam Scott, as he approached the 18th green, tied for the lead with Argentine Angel Cabrera. Wrapped in a green rain slicker, Aussie Brad Daymond assessed Scott's chances against Cabrera, whose nickname is El Pato - the duck because of the way he walks.
BRAD DAYMOND: I think Adam is ready. It's his time, yeah. Angel's a tough man, but...
GOLDMAN: El Pato...
DAYMOND: ...yeah, we know. We know the duck is tough.
GOLDMAN: He's tough.
DAYMOND: I wish it was anyone but the duck, but we still like our man.
GOLDMAN: At that moment, his man Scott was lining up a 20-foot birdie putt. And deciding it was time to end Australia's Masters drought, to move beyond the pain of last year's British Open, when Scott led late but lost.
ADAM SCOTT: I just told myself to go with instinct. You know, just put it out there and hit it. And show everyone how much you want it.
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GOLDMAN: You think maybe Brad Daymond and his mates were excited?
DAYMOND: Wow. A trip was more than worth it. We might have broken the duck.
GOLDMAN: Not so fast. Remember, ducks like the rain and Angel Cabrera is a gamer. Impervious to pressure, El Pato followed Scott's birdie on 18 with one of his own, set up by a magnificent second shot that landed a few feet from the flag. In the sudden death playoff, they both parred the first hole. On the second, Cabrera landed his ball about 15-feet from the flag. After Scott did the same, Cabrera gave Scott a thumbs up - which Scott returned. On the green, Cabrera putted first and almost sank it. Afterwards, through an interpreter, he shrugged off the excruciatingly near miss.
ANGEL CABRERA: (Through Translator) Yeah, that's golf. Golf gives and takes.
GOLDMAN: It gave to Scott a second time, who lined up and sank his putt with a huge assist from caddie Steve Williams.
SCOTT: I could hardly see the green in the darkness. No, really. I was struggling to read it so I gave Steve a call over. And he said it's going to break more than you think. I said I'm good with that. He was my eyes on that putt.
GOLDMAN: Williams was Tiger Woods' caddie for many years before woods fired him in 2011. Now Williams has his first major since the split, while his old boss came up short again.
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GOLDMAN: When Woods missed this birdie attempt on the par-3 16th yesterday, his quest for a fifth Masters title was over. A strange quest that included the controversy Saturday over an illegal ball drop and resultant two shot penalty. Ironic, that all that stemmed from a positive moment, Woods hit a shot so true that it hit the flag but then caromed back into the water prompting the illegal ball drop. If only he'd been more off on his shot.
As El Pato says, That's golf.
Tom Goldman, NPR News, Augusta.
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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.