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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Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:48 am

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.

The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.

Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.

''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''


Full-field scores from the Sanford International


Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.

McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.

''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.

Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.

''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''

Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.

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Glover (64) leads Web.com Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 12:12 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.

The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.

''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''

Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.

Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.


Full-field scores from the Web.com Tour Championship


''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''

Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Web.com Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.

''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.

The four-tournament series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top 25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.

Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.

Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.

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Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.

“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.

Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”

Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.

Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.

“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.

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McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68

By Rex HoggardSeptember 21, 2018, 11:46 pm

ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.

In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.

“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”


Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.

“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”