Can Scott break the curse? Practicing more, playing less

By Doug FergusonApril 1, 2012, 11:32 pm

AUGUSTA, Georgia – Adam Scott on a golf course is a rare sighting this year, although Augusta National was closed to the paying customers Sunday and the Australian had a practice round in quiet.

When he tees it up Thursday at the Masters, it will be only his 10th competitive round this year.

Part of that was due to missing the opening two tournaments in Hawaii while recovering from having his tonsils removed. And part of that is by design.

Scott is looking for the right formula to produce his best performance in the majors. His plan is to practice more and play less.

It certainly worked for him last year, when Scott was among eight players who had a share of the lead at one point in the final round of the Masters. He took the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole, stayed strong with a clutch par putt on the 17th and wound up tied for second when Charl Schwartzel made Masters history with birdies on his last four holes to win by two.

Scott has watched highlights of last year’s Masters only once, and that was about three weeks after the tournament.

“It’s a huge positive for me,” he said. “I should probably watch it more. Everything for me to remember was a good thing.”

Even so, there remain questions whether he can repeat that performance, if not do better and win the one major that has eluded the Australians. Scott is fresh, no doubt. But does he have enough rounds under his belt to be sharp?

“I think if he had played rubbish last year, he might try something else,” said Geoff Ogilvy, one of Scott’s best friends. “But he played so well last year and he really liked it.”

Don’t get the idea Scott has been sitting at the beach, or in the stands at tennis tournaments watching girlfriend Ana Ivanovic. A big change for him has been settling at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, giving him an ideal practice facility close to America.

Scott is confident with the amount of time he has put in. He spent most of the week on chipping and putting, an area that figures to be pivotal in anyone’s success at Augusta.

“There’s only one guy here this week that I saw work as hard as me,” Scott said.

That would be Tiger Woods, but to clarify, Woods is the only other player Scott saw at his new haven in the Bahamas.

So who worked harder?

“I think I did,” Scott said, grinning. “It was pretty even. I’d just stay on the putting green a little longer.”

The difference between Scott and Woods – besides the obvious 14 majors – is the time they have spent inside the ropes. Woods already has played six times this year, his busiest buildup to the Masters in six years. Woods had close calls in the Abu Dhabi Championship (tie for third) and the Honda Classic (tie for second) until breaking through at Bay Hill for his first PGA Tour win in 30 months.

He is dripping with confidence and has been installed as a favorite this week at the Masters.

Scott tied for 17th at Riviera, was eliminated in the first round of the Match Play Championship, and was two shots out of the lead at Doral going into the weekend until a 74-71 finish put him in a tie for 13th.

That’s three tournaments, nine rounds, going into the first major of the year.

“You don’t have to compete to be ready to compete,” Scott said. “You have to practice. I feel like I have to do enough that my game will hold up for four days of a major. I think I have to put in more work in the past to do that.”

A decade ago, two caddies were in a bar in Atlanta during a World Golf Championship, lamenting that their players were at too many tournaments. One of them referred to Woods having the ideal schedule – he would stop playing at the peak of his game, and was energized about playing when he returned.

That’s what Scott wants.

“It’s a philosophical decision,” Ogilvy said. “That’s how Greg (Norman) went about it. That’s how Jack (Nicklaus) went about it. And Tiger, for that matter. There are big advantages with longevity and enthusiasm. I’m not sure there’s a big advantage for sharpness. Your scoring is not sharp if you’re not playing a lot of tournaments. But Tiger has made a career of it. And Adam has it worked out at the moment.”

Being in the Bahamas helps.

Scott spent the latter part of the year at home in Australia, and his main residence is in Switzerland. For years, his other home was in London, which was not always conducive to proper practice. The weather wasn’t always the best, and there were plenty of distractions being on the outskirts of one of the world’s great cities.

He is building a home at Albany, and he has been staying at another house there for the last year. The golf course is so quiet that Scott estimates only about 10 rounds are played there each day.

“It’s great. It’s what I need right now for the next 10 years – my prime,” he said. “It’s really conducive for me. A great fitness facility. A great practice facility. It’s close to the states. It’s what I need. I’m in an environmental to be productive in my game. I get so much more enjoyment in practicing really hard and then testing it out.”

The big test comes this week.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.