Can the Aussies break their duck?

22:32, Apr 10 2011

I grew up watching Greg Norman and once upon a time I might have been his biggest fan going round. So waking up on Monday morning in '96 to watch him choke at the Masters was one of those devastating moments in my sport-watching life.

There may have been tears. As we all know, it wasn't the only time the shark butchered his chances to win at Augusta National and over his career he's made the top five eight times without ever being sized up for a green jacket.

Remarkably, despite the fact we're into the 75th year of the Masters, no-one from either New Zealand or Australia has ever won. 

Today there are two Australian blokes in contention. Jason Day and Adam Scott are about to tee off and they have a nation willing them on to break the Aussie voodoo with this famous tournament.   

Jason Day has been phenomenal this week. He hits the ball frighteningly well and despite his size has been the second longest guy this week. For him, 340 yard drives are normal. And for Adam Scott, the ungainly broomstick putter has clearly done something for his game this week. Today in Augusta, these boys are right under the spotlight of the world of golf. Their swings are being analysed, their temperaments questioned. 

These two Aussie boys will be well aware that back home is a frustrated nation of golfers crawling out of bed and yelling at their tv screens hoping that this will be the day that the ghost of Norman can be put to rest once and for all. 

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Here at Masters HQ, I am surrounded by a pack of 'Ockers about to head to the course and the adrenaline is starting to flow. Their story is an interesting one, and today could be their day.

The guys here at Elite Sporting Tours started their annual pilgrimage to Augusta because they honestly believed that, had they been on the course in '96, Norman would have held it together and won.

They reasoned that the shark never got the luck of the locals. He never got a good break when he hit it in the crowd. They needed to balance up the odds and be there to cheer him on. So after another agonizing Monday morning in '97 the patriarchal leader of Elite made a pact with his mate at work - they'd be there next year to get Greg over the line. 

For 11 years now the boys have been coming to Augusta and have been bringing groups of Australians along for the ride. Greg's star has faded, but now with a host of young stars from down under the hopes are always high.

This afternoon there is a glimmer of hope - a couple of early birdies - and a slip up from the young Irishman and it could be game on. The atmosphere is at fever pitch and I wonder if the Aussies can break the duck. Can they do it?