Scott teeing it up for first time since Masters win

By Randall MellMay 8, 2013, 5:33 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Adam Scott feels like he’s floating even when he isn’t wearing his green jacket around the house these days.

It’s a wonderful image Scott chose Wednesday to describe what it has been like in the month since he broke through to win his first major championship at the Masters. Given the weight of expectations he was saddled with as a prodigy, and the weight of failure in his collapse at the British Open last summer, Scott’s sense that he is floating delightfully captures what his life is like now.

Scott returns to play this week at The Players Championship knowing the challenge this sense of floating presents.

“Hopefully, I can take my head out of the clouds and come back down to earth and play some good golf,” Scott said before heading out to practice Wednesday morning.

Scott usually takes off four or five days after a major to decompress without touching his clubs. He said he took a week more than that after winning the Masters.

“It's been an overwhelming time for me,” Scott said. “Just so many people reached out to me, I was blown away. That comes from everywhere, especially Australia, but over here as well, other players, media, everyone. It was incredible.”

Scott was asked if he wakes up in the morning realizing he really is the Masters champ and it wasn’t all a dream.

“When I walk in the closet, and I put the green jacket on every morning, I do,” Scott said.

He wasn’t kidding. He likes wearing that green jacket.

“I've enjoyed that,” Scott said. “I've missed it the last couple days. It's the first couple days I haven't had it with me, so that's been a lot of fun, just wearing it around the house.”

Or floating around the house.

At 32, Scott could float the rest of his career if he wanted. Really, if he never wins another major, he won’t be remembered as a one-shot wonder. He’ll always be the first Australian to win the Masters. The feat will loom over the rest of his career. He is Aussie golf’s Neil Armstrong. He’ll be walking where no Aussie golfer ever walked before when he checks into the Augusta National Champions Locker room next year.

Here’s the thing, though, Scott wants so much more.

“It’s probably going to be the pinnacle of my career, because, also, of the whole of Australia, as the first Australian to win the Masters, but it's also not the end for me,” Scott said. “Hopefully, it's the start of me achieving my goals and trying to become the player that I've always dreamed of being.”

That’s why Scott did not come back earlier to play a PGA Tour event after winning the Masters. He wanted to feel like he was really ready to play. It’s also why he hasn’t yet returned to Australia since winning. He wants to build on this Masters title before celebrating back home.

“It’s cause for celebration, but we have a plan in place, and like I said, it's hopefully not going to stop with the Masters at the moment,” Scott said. “I want to keep focused while I can and try to make this my biggest year yet, and I think we can rustle up some celebration when I get home at the end of the year.”

Greg Norman, the most famous Aussie golfer, believes Scott is destined to surpass what he or any other Australian has achieved in the game.

“I think he will go on and win more majors than any other Australian golfer,” Norman said.

That’s a daunting task. Aussie Peter Thomson won five of them.

“Greg's had a huge belief in me,” Scott said. “Again, saying things like that, he strongly believes in my ability and he's always pushed me to achieve.”

Scott’s victory resonated beyond Australia.

“It was a great win for golf,” said Davis Love III.

Love knows how Scott’s popularity goes beyond Australia and even the game. The fact that the TV show “The Bachelor” wanted Scott after his Masters victory did not surprise Love. By the way, Scott turned down the show’s approach, saying he is in a committed relationship. He’s dating Marie Kozjar, a Swedish architect.

Love learned the strength of Scott’s mainstream appeal when he was hitting balls on a range at an event not so long ago. Love caught a glimpse of his daughter and two other girls on a golf cart racing toward him. He assumed they were coming out to watch him hit balls.

“My daughter doesn’t play golf,” Love said. “Guess who was hitting balls right beside me? Adam Scott.”

Scott is sure to have a growing following with his return to play this week. He is enjoying his new status, but he wants to keep building on his game this year. Whether, as Norman predicts, he can surpass Thomson’s five majors isn’t so much on his mind, but he does want more majors.

“I should set my goals high, like I always have,” Scott said. “If I can find the balance of using this as a motivator, and take the confidence out of what I was able to do at Augusta, then hopefully the floodgates can open. It happened a little bit for Phil Mickelson. Well, a lot for him, when he finally won his first major. He won four. So, if I keep focused, I think I believe I've got more in me. How many, I don't know. But I think if I keep doing the same things, I'll give myself a chance to win them.”

A chance to float even higher.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.