OLD habits are hard to break – especially when you’re Adam Scott.
The 32-year-old with movie star good looks is rightly Australia’s pin-up boy after winning the US Masters, but when he attended Kooralbyn International School in the late 1990s he wasn’t shown any special favours, according to former classmate Henry Epstein.
Scott, like most teenagers, didn’t mind playing the odd prank or attempt something unusual.
Epstein, a professional golfer and trick shot artist, remembers Scott as an extremely talented golfer who didn’t mind having a go.
Charlie Earp once told Scott he needed to “get some mongrel in him” and he showed that with his “Come on, Aussie” roar at Augusta.
Attending Kooralbyn’s renowned golf program, Scott showed he had plenty of courage.
“I was a year above him so I was his dorm senior,” said Epstein, who plies his trade on the Australasian Tour.
“Adam was the most talented golfer, but when he got in trouble he was on dorm duties just the same as all the other boys.
“Back then, Adam definitely had a lot of guts,” Epstein said.
“There was an incident when he tried to hit a seven-degree driver off a tee on a thong in the middle of the junior boys’ (accommodation) house.
“He was trying to get the ball up over the concrete and through the glass sliding doors.”
Was he successful?
“Let’s just say the golf ball bounced around the room a few times and no windows were broken or damage done,” Epstein recalled.
“To have the guts to even attempt that was quite amazing.”
Recently former Queensland Bulls cricketer Aaron Nye, who became friends with Scott while at Kooralbyn, told of a prank played on him while caddying for Scott in the 2005 Masters par-3 event.
Scott filled the golf bag with practice golf balls making it extraordinarily heavy.
“He stitched me up,” Nye told Gold Coast reporter Jeremy Pierce. “When I said ‘I don’t know how caddies carry such heavy bags’, he looked at me with that cheeky laugh and said, ‘you’ll be right’.”
The nice thing about Scott is he hasn’t allowed fame and fortune to go to his head.
He is the same extraordinarily talented, well-mannered, easy-going and respectful person he was at school, which is a credit to his parents Phil and Pam.
“The guy I went to school with is the same guy I see now which is great and quite amazing,” Epstein said.
“He still has the same fantastic swing – the only difference is he has bulked up. He swung the club beautifully back then and he still does now.
“When Adam first arrived at Kooralbyn I had a game with him and head coach Peter Claughton.
“The difference between us was he hit 18 greens and had 72 and I hit about seven greens in regulation and shot 71.
“I couldn’t believe he hit 18 out of 18 greens at Kooralbyn.
“It is one of those amazing things that even from that age (16 or 17) he was that good and that solid,” said Epstein, who was rapt when Scott won the Masters.
“I thought his win was unbelievable and to be the first Aussie to do it was fantastic. I was so proud of him.”
Epstein wasn’t the only person impressed with Scott at a young age.
When Scott turned pro in 2000, he immediately caught the attention of Greg Norman and two-time US Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I played with Adam (Scott) and he just blew my mind away,” Norman said at the time. “He launches it as far as Tiger, hits it as straight as Tiger and putts as good as Tiger.”
In 2001, Olazabal tipped Scott as a player who would one day don the green jacket.
“He has the game, the length off the tee and is a very good chipper and that should help him at Augusta,” the Spaniard said.
Scott grew up idolising the Shark and now he is a hero to thousands of junior golfers.
He is the perfect role model and someone any parent would want their child to idolise.
Meanwhile, Epstein is getting on with his career contesting tournaments, performing magic and demonstrating his trick shots.
“Today I did some close-up magic and after the tournament we are doing a flaming trick shot show juggling flaming golf balls and hitting some flaming clubs,” Epstein said from Blackwater in Central Queensland.