Phil Mickelson can’t walk down a busy street without onlookers gawking in his direction. Same goes for Rory McIlroy, especially in certain areas of the world. Tiger Woods? Hell, he doesn’t even walk down busy streets anymore.
There is little doubt that Adam Scott, golf’s No. 2-ranked player and the reigning Masters champion, exists in the same talent classification as these peers. There is doubt, though, that many passersby would recognize him in public, hat pulled low, with maybe a surfing t-shirt, board shorts and flip flops to accent the just-another-dude attire.
Which is exactly how he likes it, of course.
On the heels of previous Masters winner Bubba Watson rocking the green jacket seemingly everywhere – during television interviews, in at-home photos with his son, while driving the General Lee – Scott offered a more, shall we say, understated approach to golf’s most coveted piece of clothing.
“Seeing people's reactions to seeing the green jacket in your house has been a lot of fun for me,” admitted the Aussie, who estimates that by the time he returns it to Augusta, he will have tried it on 365 times in front of the mirror.
The past year could have provided a cruel quandary in Scott’s isolated world. He is fiercely private with his personal life, living in such golf peripheries as Switzerland and the Bahamas. He doesn’t crave the spotlight, either, the rare elite pro who barely minds when his caddie steals the headlines, as happened with Steve Williams after their first victory together.
Winning the Masters, though – especially becoming the first Australian winner – is counterproductive to that lifestyle. Winning the Masters means mugging for the cameras; it means shaking hands and kissing babies; it means myriad daily intrusions to a low-key lifestyle.
If all of this has bothered Scott, he isn’t letting on.
“It's only been really compliments and praise from anyone, any of the extra attention I've got for winning, which has been welcome, I must say,” he said during a Tuesday teleconference in advance of the year’s first major. “It's nice to hear nice things, that's for sure.”
That doesn’t mean Scott hasn’t taken specific measures to curtail some attention. In the days following his playoff win over Angel Cabrera, he gave exactly two interviews – one for a U.S. television network, the other for an Australian channel. He cut back on an already-limited schedule, even this year competing in only two events during the first two months on the calendar.
And thanks to his own self-governances, being Masters champion never took a toll on his privacy.
“Certainly attention at tournaments and things like that has increased, but that's to be expected,” he explained. “That goes with the job. Really there's been no burden on me outside of that, just managing my time at the events has been an adjustment. But other than that, it's been very smooth sailing.
“To have that green jacket hanging in the closet is worth any bit of extra stuff you might have to deal with in your professional world.”
If he sounds like a player hungry to retain this success come April and beyond, that’s for good reason. A half-decade ago, Scott once answered a question as to what would be written in his lifelong memoirs someday by saying, “Wanna-be surfer. … It’ll mention golf, absolutely. But I hope there’s more to my life than just golf.”
Not that his priorities have changed and he wishes to be all-golfer, all the time, but Scott now seems more focused on pursuing stardom in his chosen profession rather than catching a wave when he’s off the course.
This focus has led to a thought process which leaves him craving more opportunities rather than celebrating those he’s already achieved.
“As a competitor and someone who likes to win and desires to win and works hard to try and win tournaments, the feeling and sense of accomplishment doesn't last very long,” he said. “It basically goes through that night and you wake up the next day and that event's over and everyone's moving on.
“You can kind of bask in the glory yourself for a little bit, but as soon as you're back out to play again, everyone's moved on and there's a new trophy to play for. That's not undermining the sense of achievement of winning the Masters and the history of the event or any other major championship or any other tournament, but it's just kind of how it works, because 150 other guys didn't win and they are moving onto try and win the next week.
“You can't rest on your laurels.”
That’s the attitude that netted him one Masters title, and it very well might be the attitude which lands him more major championships in the very near future.
He’s still a private person, still the same guy who would rather check himself wearing the green jacket in his own home rather than posting it to Instagram for the whole world to see.
That doesn’t mean he’s any less proud. It also doesn’t mean the next time one of the game’s elite golfers walks down a busy street, draped in clothes far from anything bestowed upon him in Butler Cabin, he’ll be any more recognizable to those around him.