Can Scott transcend golf, break into the mainstream?

By Jason SobelApril 16, 2013, 1:06 pm

Adam Scott's winning putt trickled into the left side of the hole on Augusta National's 10th green. He raised his arms in exaltation, pointing toward the heavens as the demons from both his own past and all of Australia were lifted from his shoulders, while thousands of waterlogged fans cheered on with unabashed glee.

It was in those moments that an overwhelming idea consumed my thoughts: This guy is going to be a superstar.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Scott’s first major championship pushed him to a rank of third in the world, padding a resume that previously included wins at The Players Championship, Tour Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and Australian Masters. In golf terms, he already is a superstar.

That’s certainly true, but as I watched him give his best “I’m king of the world!” impersonation, DiCaprio-style, it dawned on me that Scott is the unique golfer whose brand could extend well beyond the boundaries of the golf course.

Let’s go through the checklist: Scott is young, single, good-looking, rich and successful. If he were a baseball player, he'd be a five-tool player. He's the type of guy who men want to be and women want to be with. Throw in a few bonus attributes such as a lack of known skeletons in the closet and an accent stolen directly from Russell Crowe, and he’s exactly what Central Casting would fetch if you requested a Masters champion.


Photos: Adam Scott through the years

Hoggard: Aussies celebrate Scott’s Masters triumph


In a sport thirsting for superstars – with Tiger Woods still battling a tarnished image, Phil Mickelson pitching arthritis meds and Rory McIlroy clamoring for more time away from the spotlight – Scott has an opportunity to become a household name, if not face. There are already rumors that “The Bachelor” wants to feature him. Next up could be “Dancing With the Stars,” “Most Beautiful People” nominations and red carpet walks with the starlet of the week.

Turns out, it's not that easy.

“Prior to the Masters, he was below average in terms of awareness and consumer appeal,” Henry Schafer told me with bubble-bursting candor.

He should know. Schafer is the executive vice president for The Q Scores Company, which measures such things by giving numerical values to a player based on polling of the masses.

Even so, I tried again. I listed Scott’s five tools and the lack of skeletons and the accent and – of course – the newly minted green jacket.

Schafer countered by informing me that out of 43 male and female professional golfers whose data was analyzed last month, Scott’s Q Score ranked 37th.

Well, maybe that’s just because non-golf fans didn’t recognize him before, I fired back. Maybe now that the general population has caught a glimpse of his worldliness, he’ll become the type of the guy who can’t walk down the street without being hounded for autographs.

Maybe not, Schafer responded. That ranking of 37th out of 43 golfers? It was actually among people who consider themselves fans of the game. When you factor in those who don’t like, follow or care about the game, Scott is much lower. Among all sports fans, his Q Score as of last month was a 12. By comparison, Tiger Woods was a 26 and the “average sports personality” was a 16. Which means that, yes, our newest hero is indeed below average.

I heard what he was saying, but refused to give up. What about Bubba Watson’s growth after winning last year’s Masters?

“His awareness stayed about the same,” Schafer said. “I would tell him, ‘You didn’t get yourself out there. You got stronger among people who knew you, but you didn’t expand your consumer base. Basically, you were preaching to the choir.’”

And this is a guy who invented the Bubbacraft, sang in a music video and made appearances on more talk shows than most people even knew existed.

Gulp.

As if that wasn’t enough, then Schafer really laid it down for me.

“Good looks are definitely part of the whole package, but more important is his personality,” he continued. “How he comes across in interviews and appearances off the golf course. I’d like to see him on the ‘Today Show,’ the ‘Tonight Show,’ ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘Ellen.’ He needs to get himself out there beyond the playing field and see how the public reacts.

“Tom Brady is better looking than Peyton Manning and he’s won more Super Bowls, but he doesn’t get more endorsements than Peyton. It’s all about how you can create a connection with consumers. For Adam Scott, that won’t come from just winning a golf tournament.”

Uh-oh. Despite being known as congenial and approachable, Scott is also fiercely private, choosing to live in relative anonymity in both Switzerland and the Bahamas rather than professional golf hotbeds such as South Florida or Scottsdale. It makes for a pleasant existence, but doesn’t exactly scream “create a connection with consumers.”

“We are playing out in the public eye, and you do lose some of your privacy with that,” Scott said a few years ago. “There are certain times that it's been uncomfortable and I'm not used to that if it's away from the golf course, because I think by nature I'm a fairly shy person and don't like to attract a lot of attention to myself.”

Even so, much like Scott following last year’s Open Championship collapse, if at first I didn’t succeed in finding a way he could be cultivated as a superstar outside of the golf industry, I was going to try, try again. OK, maybe just one more try.

So I called David Newman, who is the vice president of analytics for Atlanta-based agency Career Sports and Entertainment. But the news didn’t get much better.

Using E-Poll Market Research, which compiles data using 48 different analytics, Newman informed me that as of the last nationwide sampling of 1,100 people, only four percent even knew Scott existed.

“You kind of forget,” he reminded the golf writer who DVRs tournaments for fun, “He’s not a household name.”

It gets worse. Of the four percent who even recognized Scott in the first place, only eight percent considered him influential and seven percent called him trustworthy. Kind of makes you think: Did they only poll his ex-girlfriends or something?

There is a silver lining, though. Prior to his Masters victory last year, Watson only had an awareness of three percent, but that number leapt to 13 percent afterward, an ascendancy Newman called “a monumental jump.” Whereas Scott’s E-Score – which takes into account all of those analytics – was a 39 before his win, Watson was just a 16, but now measures 80 – a number equal to Usain Bolt, Blake Griffin and Lindsey Vonn in the sports world and the eclectic trio of Megan Fox, Van Morrison and James Van Der Beek in the entertainment industry.

“The first step is getting national awareness,” Newman said. “Adam is now taking that leap and he has those other attributes – clean image, untarnished background, attractive and people want to be around him. That’s what marks the flag. He’s got a real chance.”

A real chance – but a real chance at what, exactly?

Based on the data, it seems like Scott could make a decent run at superstar status, but much like winning a green jacket, that doesn’t come easy. You know the old saying, “A star is born”? Apparently it isn’t true. You have to work at it. Considering his propensity to shy away from the limelight, he may be more than happy to take his fleeting 15 minutes of fame outside of the golf world, and then retreat to relative anonymity.

So, sure, Adam Scott has all the markings of a superstar. He’s young, single, good-looking, rich and successful. No known skeletons. Cool accent. Everything, it appears, except perhaps the desire to be a superstar. And if I learned anything in my search to find out whether his fame could extend beyond golf’s boundaries, it’s that desire may be the most important attribute of all.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.