He let out a deep sigh and struggled to contain his emotions - the thoughts of Greg Norman, the folks Down Under, the dad he hugged so tight alongside the 10th green.
It sure felt a lot different than the last time Scott was summoned to the media room at the end of a major championship.
That was Lytham, where he had to answer for throwing away a seemingly sure victory in the British Open with bogeys on the last four holes.
This was Augusta, where he reveled in the biggest win of his career Sunday evening.
Less than eight months apart, everything changed.
Now, he's Adam Scott, major champion.
"What an incredible day," he said. "Everything fell my way in the end. You just never know."
Using one of those big putters, Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters, beating Angel Cabrera on the second hole of a stirring playoff played in a steady rain and dwindling light, finally settling down in the hollow that is the 10th green, amid the towering Georgia pines.
Cabrera's 15-foot putt rolled up right next to the hole and stopped. When Scott's 12-footer dropped in the cup, he pumped his arms furiously and screamed toward the gray, darkening sky - quite a celebration for a guy who's always been accused of being a little too laid-back.
No one would've said that on this day.
"I was pumped," he said.
For Scott, this victory was sweet on so many levels.
Certainly, there was a measure of payback for what happened last July at the British Open, where Scott played beautifully for three days and 14 holes and seemed to have a stranglehold on the claret jug. Then he bogeyed the 15th hole. And the 16th. And the 17th. And, stunningly, the 18th, surrendering the title to Ernie Els.
Scott handled the staggering defeat with amazing grace, vowing to somehow "look back and take the positives from it." But no one knew if he might go the way of Ed Sneed or Jean Van de Velde, golfers who threw away majors and never came close to winning another.
For Scott, there are no such worries.
Lytham is redeemed.
"Golf gives," Cabrera said, "and golf takes."
No one knows that more than Norman, a runner-up three times at Augusta National, a third-place finisher three other times, but never a winner. This one was for him, too.
"He inspired a nation of golfers," Scott said. "Part of this is for him because he's given me so much time and inspiration and belief. I drew on that a lot."
In a grander scheme, this victory was for an entire continent. Australia has produced some greats of the game over the last half-century but never a Masters champion. Until now.
They're on top of the world Down Under.
"We are a proud sporting nation and like to think we are the best at everything," Scott said with a mischievous grin. "This is the one thing in golf that we had not been able to achieve. It's amazing that it's my destiny to be the first Aussie to win."
Norman was so nervous watching TV at his home in south Florida that he went to the gym when the final group made the turn. He returned for the last four holes and was texting with friends as his emotions shifted with every putt. Coming down the stretch, three Aussies - Scott, Jason Day and Marc Leishman - actually had a chance to win.
Scott brought it home.
"I'm over the moon," Norman told The Associated Press. "Sitting there watching Adam, I had a tear in my eye. That's what it was all about. It was Adam doing it for himself, and for the country."
For Cabrera, a burly, 43-year-old from Argentina, the majors have been a big giver. His last victory on the PGA or European tours before Sunday? The 2009 Masters. Before that? The 2007 U.S. Open.
In other words, Cabrera doesn't win often, but when he does, it's usually a pretty significant victory.
He almost got another one, trying with Scott in regulation at 9-under 279.
"I had a lot of peace of mind and I was very confident," said Cabrera, who closed with a 2-under 70. "I knew that it depended on me. I knew that (the other contenders) can make some birdies, but I still was thinking that it depended on me."
Cabrera made the turn with a two-stroke lead but stumbled on the back nine, knocking his drive behind the pine trees at the 10th and then sending his ball into Rae's Creek on the 13th, leading to bogeys at both. But a birdie at the 16th gave him a shot, and he struck what might've been the best - well, certainly the most clutch - shot of the day at the 72nd hole after Scott, playing just ahead in the penultimate group, rolled in a 20-footer for birdie and a one-stroke lead.
"For a split-second, I let myself think I could have won," said Scott, who certainly celebrated like his 69 was good enough.
Not so fast.
Cabrera stuck a 7-iron from 163 yards to 3 feet, leaving a gimme of a putt to force the playoff. Scott was watching a television in the scoring area.
"I got to see Angel hit an incredible shot," Scott said. "Then it was try to get myself ready to play some more holes."
They went back to the 18th tee box for the first playoff hole. After matching drives and approach shots, both rolling off the front of the green, Cabrera chipped over Scott's ball and nearly put it in the cup. Scott pitched to 3 feet, both made their putts and the playoff moved on to No. 10.
Again, two more booming drives and two more nifty approaches, leaving them both with a good shot at birdie.
If Cabrera's ball had turned one more time, they might've been returning to the course Monday to finish up.
When it didn't, Scott was determined to end things before nightfall.
"Had to finish it," he said.
Scott got a big assist on the winning putt from his caddie, who knows a thing or two about winning at Augusta. Steve Williams was on the bag for 13 of Tiger Woods' 14 major titles, a close friend to the world's top-ranked golfer before Woods' personal life fell apart. Williams was among those cut loose in the aftermath, a bitter split that made this victory about as satisfying to him as it was Scott.
Especially after Scott turned to Williams to get a read on the putt.
"I could hardly see the green in the darkness," the golfer said. "He was my eyes on that putt."
Scott told Williams he thought the right-to-left break would be about the width of a cup. Williams set him straight.
"It's at least two cups," the caddie said. "It's going to break more than you think."
Scott took the advice.
A short time later, he was trying on a green jacket.
"The winning putt was the highlight putt of my career," Williams said, "because he asked me to read it."
For his former boss, there was more major misery. Woods was at the center of a firestorm for an improper drop during the second round, which led to a two-stroke penalty and complaints that Woods had actually gotten off easy, because he could've been disqualified for signing an improper scorecard.
Four strokes behind going to the final round, Woods struggled with the speed of the greens on the first eight holes - they weren't nearly as quick because of the rain - and was too far behind by the time he got something going. He finished with a 70 and tied for fourth, four shots out of the playoff.
"I played well," he said. "Unfortunately, I just didn't make enough putts."
Day seized the lead with three straight birdies through the middle of the back side, but he couldn't hold on. A curious decision to putt through 12 feet of fringe behind the 16th green led to a bogey, and he surrendered another stroke after failing to get up-and-down from the bunker at the 17th. He finished with a 70 and two shots back at 281.
"I think the pressure got to me little bit," Day said.
Scott didn't let it get to him, even when he couldn't get any putts to fall early in the round with that big stick of his, which have become all the rage in the majors. He finally caught a break at the 13th, when his approach rolled back off the green, but stopped short of the creek. He wound up making a birdie, which gave him the spark he needed.
"I had no momentum on the day at that point," Scott said. "That was a great break. And everyone who wins gets those kind of breaks."
After Lytham, he sure had it coming.
Too bad for them, the bullpen didn't fare so well. The Milwaukee Brewers rallied late and Jonathan Lucroy's home run in the 10th inning gave them a 4-3 win.
Garcia pitched seven innings of shutout ball, working around seven hits and two walks.
"As Jaime pitched as well as he did, it's tough to see it end that way," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.
The Brewers had gone a team-record 32 innings without scoring before Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer off reliever Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth that made it 3-2.
Braun's second home run of the season snapped a 39-inning shutout streak for St. Louis pitchers. The Brewers had not scored since the second inning Tuesday against the Cubs.
Matheny would have preferred to let the Cardinals closer for now, Mitchell Boggs, pitch the ninth with a cushion. But after Braun connected off Rosenthal, he did not have that luxury.
"The situations you get put into, you got to figure out a way to get out of them," Matheny said.
Milwaukee tied it in the ninth on a leadoff single by Carlos Gomez and an RBI double by Yuniesky Betancourt. Boggs left without retiring a batter and blew his second save in five chances.
"Days like today are tough," Boggs said. "I'm not going to stand here and act like it doesn't affect me, because I care. I wanted to help us win a ballgame today. I didn't do that. If you're a professional, you show up the next day and do your job."
After retiring Rickie Weeks on a fly to start the 10th, Fernando Salas (0-2) gave up Lucroy's first home run of the season.
Brandon Kintzler (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth and got the first out in the 10th. Burke Badenhop retired pinch-hitter Carlo Beltran on a grounder for the final out and his first save.
Adams had another big day in the loss, hitting a home run and a single. He has homered in three straight games and has a hit in all five games he has played.
Adams is batting .611 (11-for-18) with three homers and eight RBI.
"I'm seeing it well, and feeling good at that plate," Adams said. "It all comes back to the work I'm getting in the cage before the game and making sure I watch the video and I'm prepared."
Matt Holliday had an RBI single and Yadier Molina an RBI double for the other St. Louis runs.
The Cardinals broke through against Marco Estrada with four consecutive two-out hits in the third, including an RBI single by Holliday and an RBI double to the gap by Molina. Allen Craig was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Molina's hit.
Adams made it five straight hits when he led off the fourth with a 419-foot homer to center that made it 3-0.
NOTES: Molina received his fifth consecutive Gold Glove award before the game. ... On Saturday, Adam Wainwright became the first St. Louis pitcher with a shutout in which he struck out at least one batter in every inning since Bob Gibson accomplished the feat on June 17, 1970, at San Diego.
Jim Crews served as the interim coach for the SLU Billikens men's basketball team.
Crews led the team to their first A-10 title in decades and a number 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.
The deal is reportedly long-term, but specifics have not been released.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Brian Elliott notched his third straight shutout, stretching his streak to 189 minutes, 31 seconds without a goal, and the St. Louis Blues won their sixth straight game by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Thursday night.
Roman Polak ended a 120-game streak without a goal, and Andy McDonald also scored, sending the Wild to their sixth loss in eight games. They have been shut out in three of four, the only times they have been blanked all season.
The Wild have six goals in six games, and their scoreless streak is at 121 minutes, 25 seconds.
The last time the Blues won at least six straight was Oct. 22-Nov. 7, 2010, a seven-game streak. They have given up five goals during the run.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Spain's Sergio Garcia and Australia's Marc Leishman -- a pair that has compiled exactly zero major titles between them -- are the surprise first-round leaders at the 77th Masters. Garcia posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 playing in the afternoon to grab a share of the lead with Leishman, who ran off a string of four straight birdies on the way to the 66 he posted early in the day.
Long-hitting Dustin Johnson, another player without a major to his name, finds himself just a shot back after a 67.
Fifty-three year old Fred Couples showed he still can play the tough Augusta National course with a 4-under 68, that puts him in a group of players along with former champ Trevor Immelman.
Four-time champ Tiger Woods posted a 2-under 70. That's only two shots off the best first-round score Woods has ever posted at Augusta, where he is seeking his fifth green jacket. Woods has not won a major in five years.
Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang had an impressive Augusta National debut with a 1-over 73. The 14-year-old became the youngest person to play in the Masters.
Jamie Donaldson had one of the day's highlights with a hole-in-one on the sixth hole, but could only muster a 74.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jake Westbrook pitched a five-hit shutout and the St. Louis Cardinals backed him with four home runs yesterday in routing the Cincinnati Reds 10-0.
Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Adams homered in a span of seven at-bats off Homer Bailey as the Cardinals took two of three from the NL Central champions.
Matt Carpenter added a two-run homer on a four-hit day. Adams homered for the second straight game and added an RBI double and walk.
The Cardinals have dominated the Reds at home the last decade, losing just three of 28 series with two splits.
Westbrook (1-1) threw his fourth career shutout, walking four and striking out three.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Brian Elliott made 15 saves and Alex Steen scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators last night.
The Blues extended their winning streak to a season-long five games. The fading Predators have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight.
After a scoreless first period, Steen got the game's first goal at 16:37 of the second. Carrying the puck along the boards on the left side, Steen pulled up at the top of the left circle and fired a slap shot that beat goaltender Pekka Rinne between the pads.
Steen snapped a six-game goalless stretch.
Elliott was relatively untested en route to his second consecutive shutout. He made four saves in the first, six in the second and five in the third.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lance Lynn struck out 10 in six sharp innings and rookie Matt Adams connected for his first career pinch-hit homer as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (1-1) retired the first 15 batters. The Cardinals broke through in the sixth, with Adams hitting a two-run homer and Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran also driving in runs.
St. Louis bounced back nicely a day after the Reds roughed up the bullpen for nine runs in the ninth inning of a 13-4 rout that made for a sour home opener.
Brandon Phillips had a sacrifice fly and Shin-Soo Choo had two hits for Cincinnati. The Reds were held to five hits, ending a run of four consecutive games with double-figure hit totals. Choo has four straight two-hit games.
One of them sat in the corner of the locker room, a net around his neck, grinning away.
The Louisville Cardinals vowed to finish the job for Kevin Ware.
Boy, did they ever.
With their injured teammate cheering them on from the bench, Louisville capped its run through the NCAA tournament, coming back again from a 12-point deficit to beat Michigan 82-76 in the championship game Monday night.
"These are my brothers," said Ware, still getting around on crutches after a horrific injury in the regional final. "They got the job done. I'm so proud of them, so proud of them."
Ware is just getting started on what could be a yearlong recovery from a broken right leg, but he's already got something no one can take away - a championship.
They even lowered the goal so he could take a turn with the scissors, helping cut down the net that wound up around his neck.
"It meant the world to me," Ware said. "I don't really have any other words to describe how I feel right now."
Pitino knows how it feels to win a championship, having guided Kentucky to a crown in 1996. Now, working right down the road from Lexington, he became the first coach to win titles at different schools.
"This team is one of the most together, toughest and hard-nosed teams," he said. "Being down never bothers us. They just come back."
It was quite a capper to perhaps the best week of Pitino's life.
Earlier Monday, he was introduced as a member of the latest Hall of Fame class. On Saturday, his horse won the Santa Anita Derby to set up a run for the roses in the Kentucky Derby. And last week his son got the coaching job at Minnesota.
His first tattoo, apparently.
Pitino vowed to get inked up if his players won the championship. They intend to hold him to that promise.
"I have a couple of ideas," said Luke Hancock, who became the first backup in tournament history to be designated as most outstanding player. "He doesn't know what he's getting into."
"Our biggest motivation," Peyton Siva added, "was to get coach a tattoo."
Not a bad week for Louisville, either. The school has a chance to make it two national titles in 24 hours when the surprising women's team faces Connecticut on Tuesday night in the championship game at New Orleans.
On the eve of their big game, the women got together with hundreds of fans in a hotel lobby to cheer on the men.
"It's a great time to be a Cardinal," coach Jeff Walz said.
A great time, indeed. Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and the Cardinals (35-5) lived up to their billing as the top overall seed in the men's tournament.
They sure had to work for it, though.
Louisville trailed Wichita State by a dozen in the second half before rallying for a 72-68 victory. This time, they fell behind by 12 in the first half, then unleashed a stunning spurt led by Hancock that wiped out the entire deficit before the break.
"I had the 13 toughest guys I've ever coached," Pitino said. "I'm just amazed they could accomplish everything we put out there."
No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high after a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State. This time, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.
Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before halftime with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.
Albrecht didn't do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He made it 5-for-5 from long range when he hit his final 3 from the corner with 3:27 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn't go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.
While Pitino shrugged off any attempt to make this about him, there was no doubt the Cardinals wanted to win a title for Ware.
Watching again from his seat at the end of the Louisville bench, his battered right leg propped up on a chair, Ware smiled and slapped hands with his teammates as they celebrated in the closing seconds, the victory coming just 30 miles from where he played his high school ball.
Ware's awful injury will forever be linked to this tournament. Against Duke, he landed awkwardly, snapped his leg and was left writhing on the floor with the bone sticking through the skin. On this night, he hobbled gingerly onto the court with the aid of crutches, basking in a sea of confetti and streamers.
This one belonged to him as much as anyone on the court.
Siva added 18 points for the Cardinals, who closed the season on a 16-game winning streak, and Chane Behanan chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Louisville slowly but surely closed out the Wolverines (31-8).
Michigan was in the title game for the first time since the Fab Five lost the second of two straight championship games in 1993. Players from that team, including Chris Webber, cheered on the latest group of young stars.
But, like the Fab Five, national player of the year Trey Burke and a squad with three freshman starters came up short in the last game of the season.
"A lot of people didn't expect us to get this far," said Burke, who led the Wolverines with 24 points. "A lot of people didn't expect us to get past the second round. We fought. We fought up to this point, but Louisville was the better team today, and they're deserving of the win."
The first half, in particular, might have been the most entertaining 20 minutes of the entire men's tournament.
Burke started out on fire for Michigan, hitting his first three shots and scoring seven points to match his output from the semifinal victory over Syracuse, when he made only 1-of-8 shots.
Albrecht took control when Burke picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench for the rest of the half. The kid whose nickname comes from his first pair of baseball spikes showed he's a pretty good hoops player, knocking down one 3-pointer after another to send the Wolverines to a double-digit lead.
When Albrecht blew by Tim Henderson with a brilliant hesitation move, Michigan led 33-21 and Louisville was forced to call timeout. The freshman was mobbed on the Michigan bench, as if the Wolverines had already won the national title, with one teammate waving a towel in tribute.
Not so fast. Not against Louisville.
The Cardinals came back one more time.
"We needed a rally and we've been doing it for a couple of games straight, being down," Hancock said. "We just had to wait and make our run."
Burke, who played only six minutes in the first half because of the foul trouble, did his best to give Michigan its first championship since 1989. But he couldn't do it alone. Albrecht was held scoreless after the break, and no one else posted more than 12 points for the Wolverines.
Still, it was quite a run for a fourth-seeded team that knocked off No. 1-seeded Kansas with the greatest comeback of the tournament, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jayhawks in the round of 16.
But they came up against the ultimate comeback team in the final, a group that was intent on keeping the title in the bluegrass state after Kentucky won it all last season.
Louisville had already pulled off a stunning rally in the Big East championship game - down by 16 in the second half, they won by 17 - and another against Wichita State.
"I've had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we've ever had," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team."
No wonder Ware was grinning from ear to ear. ---
Mitchell Boggs (0-1), the stand-in closer for St. Louis, yielded six runs while getting only one out and the Cardinals needed four more pitchers to get out of the inning. Only a few thousand fans remained of the largest regular-season crowd of 47,375 for the bottom of the ninth in 8-year-old Busch Stadium history.
The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game.
Phillips added his 150th career homer for the Reds, who have won six of seven since losing in extra innings to the Angels on opening day and totaled 11 or more hits the last four games. Jay Bruce had four hits and Chris Heisey doubled twice with an RBI.
Sam LeCure (1-0) pitched an inning for the win.
Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia matched his career best with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead. Yadier Molina hit both of the fly balls dropped by Choo in the first and sixth, and added an RBI single.
Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul tied it in the eighth with an RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal before the Reds took off in the ninth with six hits, five walks and an error. The Cardinals last surrendered nine runs in the ninth in a 12-9 loss at Colorado July 6, 2010.
Prior to the game, Musial's four children unveiled an oversized red No. 6, the Hall of Famer's retired jersey number, on the wall in left-center. The decal matches memorial patches worn on the team's uniform sleeves.
Reds players stood on the top dugout steps as the Cardinals paraded around the warning track in flat-bed trucks, and manager Dusty Baker gave a hug to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
Choo entered the season with 652 games of outfield experience but only 10 in center, and all 155 games with the Indians last year as the right fielder. Two runs scored in the first when Choo twice juggled Molina's fly ball after backtracking, and Matt Holliday scored from first to put the Cardinals up 4-2 in the sixth when the ball popped out on Choo, perhaps fighting the sun.
Reds starter Mat Latos allowed one earned run in six innings, shaving his ERA to 10.23 in five career starts at Busch to 10.23.
Garcia struck out four of the first six batters and retired eight in a row before issuing a four-pitch, two-out walk to Latos in the third. He entered with a 2.48 career ERA at Busch, the stadium's best, and his other 10-strikeout game was at home Aug. 19 against the Pirates.
NOTES: The Reds totaled two errors their first six games while their opponents had 12. ... Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds, teammates on the Cardinals' 2006 championship team, threw first pitches to injured closer Jason Motte and Adam Wainwright.