Aussie Scott Needing to Go to Next Level

By Associated PressApril 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
One of the most vexing labels in golf is best to have never won a major, which is now affixed to Sergio Garcia with little debate. But there is another description that is even more burdensome, and it belongs to Adam Scott.
 
Best to never even contend in a major.
 
Thats the last thing he needs to do to get to the next level, swing coach Butch Harmon said Monday night. You forget that hes won a lot of tournaments. But hes got to step up to the plate in the majors, and stop putting so much pressure on himself.
 
It is no disgrace that the 27-year-old Scott has not won a major. Those are hard to come by in the era of Tiger Woods, and it has become even more difficult in recent years now that Phil Mickelson has figured them out.
 
Only five players in theirs 20s, including Woods, have won majors this decade.
 
Perhaps even more startling is that in the last five years, only 13 players in their 20s have finished in the top five at majors. Garcia is the leader in the clubhouse with six top fives since 2003, which includes a playoff loss at Carnoustie last summer, and playing in the final group with Woods at Royal Liverpool the year before.
 
Thats why the best to have never won a major tag fits Garcia better than anyone else. Along with his six PGA TOUR victories and 10 victories around the world, he has eight top fives in the majors since he turned pro in 1999.
 
Scott turned pro a year later, and his record stacks up favorably to Garcia except in one major department.
 
The Australians only top five in a Grand Slam event came two years ago at Medinah, where he tied for third in the PGA Championship, albeit six shots behind Woods. His closest call came at Whistling Straits in the 2004 PGA Championship, when he tied for eighth, three shots out of a playoff won by Vijay Singh
 
That he has not seriously contended is a mystery, and it only deepened with his victory Sunday in Dallas.
 
Scott didnt earn any style points at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, but he showed plenty of heart. He took a three-shot lead into the final round, let it slip away with a tee shot into the water, rallied with a do-or-die birdie putt on the 18th, then atoned for two 10-foot misses by holing a 50-foot birdie putt on the third playoff hole.
 
I needed to walk out of here with a trophy, Scott said. I needed to go and close this thing out, and it was tough, but I managed to do it. I feel pretty good about myself. It would have been a tough defeat. Even in tough conditions, to let go of a three-shot lead doesnt sit too well with many people, and that goes for me, as well.
 
Forget the majors for a moment and consider Scotts consistency.
 
His victory at the Byron Nelson put him in some elite company'with an asterisk'by winning at least one PGA TOUR event each of the last six seasons. Only Woods, with victories in 13 straight seasons, has a longer active streak on tour. Scotts streak includes 2005 at Riviera, where he won in a playoff over Chad Campbell after rain limited the tournament to 36 holes, making it unofficial.
 
And while Scott hasnt won a major, he has won big events against strong fields.
 
The Aussie won the next best thing to a major in 2004 at THE PLAYERS Championship, becoming the youngest champion at age 23. He ended the 2006 season with a victory in the Tour Championship by three shots over Jim Furyk. His first PGA TOUR victory came at the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
 
But it all comes back to the majors, one glaring gap for a guy who seems to have everything.
 
His swing is so sound, so efficient, that he often was compared with Woods until the worlds No. 1 player revamped his swing. He is blessed with movie star looks, and no scene was more startling than at Oak Hill at the 2003 PGA Championship when women were handing their hotel room keys to security guards to give to Scott.
 
His manners are simply impeccable. He treats everyone with equal consideration.
 
Maybe hes too nice, more lamb than tiger. His demeanor is in stark contrast to that of Garcia, whose temperament can hurt him as much as it helps. You wont see Scott spit into a cup, nor will you hear him complain about his endless run of bad luck.
 
But there was something that caught Harmons attention late Sunday afternoon. With a chance to take a one-shot lead as he stood over an 8-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole, Scott left it short. He stood alone on the back of the green, lips pursed, anger visible.
 
He was chewing himself out, Harmon said.
 
Ryan Moore made a 12-foot birdie ahead of him on the 17th hole to take a one-shot lead. Scott responded with a two-putt par from some 80 feet across the 17th, then two perfect shots and a clutch birdie to force the playoff.
 
To lose would have stirred memories of Memphis last year, when he blew a three-shot lead in the final round with a 75. Or at the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he missed three putts inside 10 feet on the final four holes to lose to Woody Austin.
 
This is a big step for him, Harmon said. Its big for his confidence.
 
It was his second victory this year, having won the Qatar Masters with a 61 in the final round, and it sends Scott to the Wachovia Championship and The Players Championship the next two weeks on a high.
 
He can only hope its not another tease.
 
The real test comes six weeks from now at Torrey Pines for the U.S. Open.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Wachovia Championship
  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.