Adam Scott still has a chance to salvage a disappointing year with a late-season victory, and he hopes to take full advantage of the opportunity.
This year has yielded much change for the Aussie, both on the course (ditching his long putter in advance of the anchoring ban) and off (his first child was born in February). But the former world No. 1 is now down to No. 12 in the latest rankings, and he is in jeopardy of closing out a year without a worldwide victory for the first time since 2001.
Scott is hopeful he can end that drought this week in front of partisan crowds at the Australian Open, a tournament he won in 2009.
"I'm very fired up to win the Australian Open this week," Scott told reporters. "It's got a big feel about it to me. ... (Caddie Steve Williams) is certainly treating this week just like I've spoken of, this is our major week and we're going to treat it accordingly. We're here on a mission."
Scott said that there have only been a handful of weeks where he has played "top-level golf" this year, noting his T-4 finish at the U.S. Open and a T-10 result at the Open Championship, where he held a share of the lead midway through his final round. He also finished second earlier this month at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
But this event has served as a bit of a launching pad the last two years, as Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth have both followed victories in Oz with seasons that included two major titles. It's a path that Scott hopes to follow, especially if it includes a final-round duel this week with the current world No. 1.
"I've been building it up in my own mind, just knowing Jordan is coming back to defend," he said. "I'd love to be right there with Jordan Sunday and going head-to-head, seeing what I can do and getting back in that kind of mindset."