Slow turnaround for not-so-great Scott

By Doug FergusonJuly 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Adam Scott embraces his Australian golf heritage and the comparisons to major champions whom he would like to join someday, the sooner the better. This one, however, made him wince.
The topic was Ian Baker-Finch.
Im not sure I like where youre headed with this, Scott said.
Baker-Finch captured the claret jug at Royal Birkdale in 1991 and was among the top players in golf until one of the most celebrated slumps in golf. He went 31 straight tournaments without making the cut, the last straw his 92 at Royal Troon in the 1997 British Open.
Adam Scott tees off during a practice round Tuesday on the Ailsa Course, Turnberry Golf Course. (Getty Images)
Scott managed a smile, perhaps because he believes the worst is behind ' and it didnt last very long.
Its only been three months, Scott said.
Maybe so, but it has felt like an entire season.
Scott is not the only player who has gone through a rough patch this year. Padraig Harrington, the two-time defending champion at the British Open, had missed five straight cuts until winning the Irish PGA last week, a tournament that amounted to little more than a club championship. Ernie Els has gone nearly 18 months without winning.
Both, however, are major champions.
Scott will turn 29 on Thursday when the British Open begins at Turnberry. In a career marked by steady progress to as high as No. 3 in the world last summer, it was astonishing to see him vanish from leaderboards from February until June.
He lost in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. He missed six cuts in a row, including The Players Championship, where he hit one tee shot onto the adjacent golf course.
The questions piled up faster than the big numbers.
  • How bad was his injury from surfing in Australia, the sixth time he had dislocated his knee cap?
  • What was he doing surfing?
  • Was he more motivated making the cover of fashion magazines or golf magazines?
  • Who was he dating now?
    Those close to him grew concerned when he only made news for the company he was keeping ' actress Kate Hudson for a week in Hawaii, tennis star Ana Ivanovic for the last few months ' than the shots he was hitting.
    After scores of 77-81 at the Memorial, Scott finally snapped.
    And so did one of his clubs.
    I think it was three months of frustration, Scott said of the 7-iron he broke. Just my luck, I needed it six more times that day. And the Memorial is the only tournament without a repair van, so I played with 13 clubs the next day. But I felt better about it.
    Scott has won a tournament every year since his first full season in Europe in 2001. He was the youngest to win The Players Championship. He was the kid who swung just like Tiger Woods, before Woods changed his swing.
    Then, he couldnt make a cut.
    For nine years, I thought I could win anywhere, and I would just fall into a major one of these years, Scott said. It was hard to comprehend why this was happening. Its never taken me so long to figure this out.
    How far had he fallen?
    Just over a year ago, Scott was featured with Woods and Phil Mickelson in that 1-2-3 grouping taken off the world ranking. He nearly fell out of the top 50 until he put three good rounds together at the Scottish Open and tied for fourth, moving up to No. 43.
    My play was disgusting, Scott said.
    He thought he was working on the right drills to get his swing back to where it was. He stood on the range and hit the ball where he was looking. Then he stuck a tee in the ground and put a scorecard in his pocket, and everything changed.
    I didnt have a clue, Scott said. Everyone was telling me it looked good, trust it. But I fell apart on the course.
    Lee Westwood once climbed as high as No. 4 in the world until his game went south, falling out of the top 100 during two years of misery. He sought help from four swing coaches until finally, thankfully, getting back on his feet.
    Baker-Finch went through nearly a dozen coaches, which he said ruined him.
    The key is not to panic, Westwood said. Youve just got to go back to the basics. Generally, youll find it was an obvious thing.
    Thats just what Scott did.
    After his 81 at the Memorial, he retreated to Queenwood Golf Club outside London. He didnt invite Butch Harmon, his longtime coach. He didnt ask help from his caddie, Tony Navarro.
    A club employee worked the video and Scott went to the practice range, sessions that lasted up to four hours, six straight days. Before long, he watched the flight of one ball, which was just as he imagined it should go.
    Then came his first big test, Bethpage Black for the U.S. Open. He opened with a 69, easily made the cut and even saw his name on the leaderboard early in the final round until a string of late bogeys that only cost him money. He played in the final group on the weekend at Loch Lomond, and the smile grew wider, even as the tabloids quizzed him about Ivanovic.
    He is not over the hump. He still doesnt have a major.
    Still, he believes he is closer than ever, not because of steady progress but a surprising detour.
    Ill be a better player than I ever was before, Scott said. Im sure of that.
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  • 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.

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

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

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    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 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.