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.


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.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.