Dont Forget This Guy - He Hasnt

By George WhiteMarch 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
Hes been in this role for a couple of years now, in case you might have forgotten. They first made a fuss over Adam Scott in 2003 at the Accenture Match Play, when he outplayed Tiger Woods but managed to lose the match in extra holes in the semifinals. And last year he caused quite a ruckus when he won The Players Championship, hanging on by his fingernails to win by a stroke after he curled a ball into the lake on the 18th hole.
 
On each occasion, he was eventually forgotten. He would go to Europe to play during the summer and slowly just drift from memory. Tiger, Phil, Vijay or Ernie would be the hot golfer du jour and there just wasnt room in the noggin for one more. Adam Scott? Oh yeah, him ' someday he will be a heck of a player. Someday.
 
Adam Scott
Adam Scott will need to improve his putting if he wants to repeat this week.
Well, how about the present? After all, he has already won once this year, though it was at the ill-starred Nissan Open. And this week he returns to Ponte Vedra Beach, where he has jarred the memory bank a couple of times. He opened with back-to-back 69s in The Players of 2003 before tailing off. And last year, he got all the way to the top.
 
Hes obviously worth a look this year. After all, he says he feels about the same as he did 12 months ago.
 
I feel like physically striking the ball and just purely playing-wise, it's very similar, he said. I'm starting to strike the ball very well, a lot more consistently and my short game is in pretty good shape. So I feel it's at a similar point to how I was coming in here last year.
 
But I think I'm a better player than last year. Obviously I've had another year's experience on tour and winning The Players gave me a lot of confidence and I won a couple of other events. So I think my game overall is better, but as far as just physically hitting the ball, I'm pretty much at the same point as where I was this time last year.
 
But, the 24-year-old Aussie isnt kidding anyone. He isnt quite ready, not at age 24, to enter the rarified air of golfs truly elite ' Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els. One tournament such as this week ' sure, he thinks hes anyones equal. But a four, five, or nine-win season ' hed better wait a little while.
 
I think maybe one day I can kind of get in the top four for sure, Scott says. I think I'm on a pretty good path towards that. But those guys are playing at a different level than most of us.
 
After all, those caliber players have learned to do all the little things that make the ultimate difference over four days. Others have occasional periods of brilliance, but its the four or five guys who will do it hole after hole, round after round, who will win most of the tournaments.
 
I think it's a small margin, said Scott, as it is any level in the professional game. The top-10 player to the 100th-ranked player, it's a pretty small margin, really.
 
I think where I am, the top four is a small margin, but it requires a lot of work and some great golf. For me, it's probably just getting a little tougher and not giving away as many cheap shots on the course. And I think that's what I see with those guys. They somehow manage to make 4 out of a 5 and they do it a couple of shots a round. And that's two shots a round of difference, and that's why they are averaging 68 every time they tee it up.
 
Scotts biggest drawback is still the putter. He has occasionally been impressive with it, but its still the one area that will occasionally throw him. He currently ranks on the wrong side of 100 on the tours ranking list. But Scott feels as though hes getting better. And his chipping is much improved ' last year at this tournament he spent an hour and 15 minutes on the short-game range with Greg Norman, and the lessons took hold immediately. On the final hole, after he had just splashed down for what could have been a disastrous stroke, he cooly chipped the ball from 100 feet to 10 feet, then made the putt.
 
I'm going to feel pretty comfortable out there. That's for sure - I know that, Scott said. I'd just like to get in a position where, you know, I've got a chance to defend my title and not just hand it right over because I've enjoyed being The Players champion for the last year.
 
Adam Scott. Well, why not? Hes certainly shown he has the mechanics. And now, hes got the mental makeup as well.
 
I'm not afraid to go play these guys, he says.
 
When you first get out here, it takes a while to get around the fact that you're playing against guys who I was watching in Grade 9 or something when this guy won the U.S. Open or whatever it is. So that takes a little while. But I definitely think it was more belief in my own ability is what I was saying rather than being comfortable around them, because no one's been anything but nice to me out here. And they definitely didn't make me feel uncomfortable.
 
Scott doesnt feel uncomfortable any longer, though he is just 24. He has already won The Players once. Two would justify his comfort zone.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.