Dont Forget This Guy - He Hasnt


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.
Email your thoughts to George White
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard ' The Players Championship
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship