Masters champion Adam Scott dedicated his victory to fellow Australian Greg Norman, saying the three-time runner-up had "inspired a nation".
Scott secured his first major and became the first Australian to win the Green Jacket when he beat Angel Cabrera in a sudden-death play-off.
"There was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers and that's Greg Norman," said the 32-year-old.
"He's been incredible to me and part of this definitely belongs to him.
"A phone conversation's not going to do it, we're very close. I would love to share a beer with him and talk through it all."
Both Scott and Cabrera finished 72 holes on nine under and could not be separated at the first play-off hole, but Scott sunk a putt from 15 feet at the 10th to go one better than his childhood idol Norman.
Former world number one and two-time major winner Norman had to settle for second spot in 1986, 1987 and, most memorably, in 1996 when he let a six-shot lead slip on the final day to Nick Faldo.
"Anyone near to my age, he was the best player in the world, an icon," Scott added of Norman.
"Everything about the way he handled himself was incredible. He was a role model and he has devoted so much time to myself and other Australian players who came after him. He is incredibly generous."
Norman, 58, has predicted that Scott will win more majors than any other Australian.
Peter Thomson won five major titles between 1954 and 1965 but Norman, who won two Opens, believes he can be even better.
"Everybody questioned whether he could do it. We all knew it. The players know it," Norman said. "I think he'll go on and win more majors than any other Australian golfer."
Scott and Argentine Cabrera, the 2009 champion, finished two shots ahead of Jason Day with a third Australian, Marc Leishman, tied for third on five under alongside world number one Tiger Woods.
"Australia's a proud sporting nation and this was one notch on the belt that we'd never got," said the world number seven after receiving the Green Jacket from 2012 winner Bubba Watson.
"It's amazing that it's come down to me today, Marc [Leishman] and Jason Day, it could have been any of us."
Scott, who bogeyed the last four holes at last year's Open to lose by one stroke to Ernie Els, described winning in Augusta as "incredible".
"I don't know how that happened," he said. "It seems a long way away from last July when I was trying to win another major.
"It fell my way today, there was some luck there. It was incredible."
Scott looked to have avoided the need for a play-off when he fired in a superb 25-foot putt on the final hole of his fourth round to card a 69.
But Cabrera, watching from the fairway in the following group, hit a magnificent approach to little more than three feet and holed out to extend the contest.
Scott admitted he thought for a "split second" he had won and said that putt and the one at the second play-off hole had given him "an amazing feeling".
Cabrera himself went close to winning the tournament when his chip at the first play-off hole ran just past the cup.
"That's how golf is," said the Argentine. "I came back and I had that chip on 18, I could have won it.
"But Adam's a good winner. I would have been happier if I had won, but he's a great player, I get along with him, we've played together in the President's Cup and I'm happy for him."