His troublesome season ended Sunday with a 25-foot birdie and a wistful smile, knowing that he was not even close to moving into the top 100 in the standings to advance.
What’s next for the 29-year-old Scott?
He will return to Australia after next week and plans to have surgery on his right knee for a cyst that has become a nuisance the last few years. Scott said it was unrelated to six times he has dislocated his right knee cap (the most recent last November), nor did it affect his golf swing throughout the year.
He said fluid has caused the cyst to grow, and doctors either will drain it and patch it, or remove it.
“It’s something I should have had done at the start of the year,” he said.
Instead, he played at Kapalua, where he spent the week with Kate Hudson, then tied for second at the Sony Open. That was as good as it got, as Scott spiraled into a mysterious slump. He showed signs of emerging with his tie for fourth at the Loch Lomond, only to miss the cut in the final two majors.
Scott and swing coach Butch Harmon mutually agreed to take a break as Scott tries to find his way.
He only has the Australian Masters, Australian PGA and Australian Open on his schedule the rest of the year. He likely can scratch off the Presidents Cup, although Scott (No. 14 in the standings) won’t rule out being a captain’s pick until Greg Norman tells him so.
He saw Liberty National as an audition, and it turned out to be a final audition.
“I had high hopes of playing well,” he said. “I did play well the last three days, and it’s the most I’ve enjoyed golf in a long time. But I don’t have high hopes – I don’t have realistic hopes – of being a pick.”
ALL IN THE FAMILY: In a peculiar move, Kenny Perry parted ways last week with longtime caddie Fred Sanders, with whom he has won most of his tournaments. Sanders said Perry has decided to use his son, Justin, the rest of the year – the final three FedEx Cup playoff events, and even the Presidents Cup.
His son played college golf at Western Kentucky and caddied for his father at the British Open, where Perry tied for 52nd without breaking par in any round at Turnberry.
Sanders said he learned of the change through Perry’s agent, even though they worked all week at The Barclays.
Asked about using his son, Perry replied tersely to two reporters, “Guys, I really don’t want to talk about that.”
Perry, who turned 49 last month, has won twice this year, lost in a playoff at the Masters and is No. 5 in the world ranking. He has 14 career victories, and has said one of his ambitious goals is to get to 20.
FRUSTRATED KIM: Anthony Kim was 13 shots out of the lead going in to the final round of The Barclays, pounding balls on the range, most of them close to perfect.
“I need some of these out there,” he said as his swing coach and trainer looked on.
Kim turned to an observer and promised, “Something big is coming – soon.” Then he started his final round with a bogey and double bogey, and had to rally for another round of 71.
So what is big, especially with the majors over? And what exactly does he mean by soon?
“For me, being in the hunt is big,” Kim said after his round, an indication of how much his performance has slipped. “And soon will be in the next three weeks.”
Kim says his game is close, but he’s not scoring. Lately, he has been hurt by slow starts. He nearly missed the cut at The Barclays until a strong closing kick Friday.
“I’m just not getting the ball in the hole fast enough,” he said. “And when I do, I’m stalling. I’m not moving forward. It’s frustrating. This is the most time I’ve spent on my swing. This is the most time I’ve spent chipping and putting.”
Later, however, he said he had to “clean up a few things,” which including doing a better job managing his time. He did not elaborate.
PLAYOFF PERKS: Heath Slocum never had a chance to digest the significance of his victory at The Barclays. One minute he was barely in the playoffs, the next he was at No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings and assured a spot in the Tour Championship.
That means he gets in all four majors next year – the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open take the 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship, the PGA Championship by virtue of winning.
He also gets into all the invitationals and two of the World Golf Championships – Doral and Firestone. And there’s the trip to Kapalua for the winners-only SBS Championship to start the year. His wife, Vicky, won’t be joining him. She is pregnant with their second child and due in the middle of January.
PLAYOFF FEVER: Three years into the FedEx Cup, no one gets ready for the playoffs quite like Steve Stricker.
He won the inaugural playoff event at The Barclays in 2007 and was the runner-up Sunday. Along the way, Stricker has become one of only three players to compete in all 36 rounds of the nine playoff events.
“It’s the playoffs, I guess,” Stricker said with a laugh. “I mean, it’s the time of year. Fortunately, I’ve been playing well since the playoff started. I got that going for me. Obviously, you want to be playing well at this time. There’s a lot of incentive there for us at the end of it all.”
Make that double incentive for Stricker – hunting season is around the corner.
Stricker rarely plays much past September, although he has the Presidents Cup this year. As for the HSBC Championship, a World Golf Championship in Shanghai the first week of November?
“Let me think about that – no,” he said with a laugh.
DIVOTS: With his runner-up finish at The Barclays, Tiger Woods went over $8 million for the season for the fifth time in his career. … U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover is the only major champion who has turned down his spot in the HSBC Championship in Shanghai. … Woods’ runner-up finish at The Barclays leaves the FBR Open in Phoenix as the only tournament he has played at least three times without finishing second or better. … Nick Watney has chosen John Merrick as his partner for the World Cup in China.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Everyone in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings has won at least once this year. Last year, three players among the top 10 after The Barclays had not won a tournament.
FINAL WORD: “It’s hard to win out here, as I’m finding out. But at least I’m finding out. Before I didn’t know.” –Paul Goydos.