Scott thriving post-anchoring

By Rex HoggardMarch 5, 2016, 12:27 am

DORAL, Fla. – Rumors of Adam Scott’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Not that Scott, one of the PGA Tour’s most understated and unassuming superstars even when he’s been winning major championships, would ever play the role of martyr.

That’s just not his style.

Instead, the 35-year-old is at ease letting his play speak for itself.

In his last 11 competitive rounds Scott is 35 under par, a run that includes his victory last week at the Honda Classic, a runner-up showing at the Northern Trust Open, Monday’s 70 up the road at the Seminole Pro-Member and two clutch rounds of 68-66 at this week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship that have propelled him to a two-stroke advantage at Doral.

Not bad for a guy who some dismissed as a competitive dinosaur who would be left behind by this year’s ban on anchored putting.

He couldn’t make the transition to something else after so many years with a broom-handle putter, the naysayers figured.

Without the comfort of that anchored lifeline even one of the game’s best ball-strikers, which has always been Scott’s reputation, would be relegated to the second shelf, the prognosticators announced.

This is, after all, the same guy who showed up at last year’s Presidents Cup in Korea brimming with confidence over his new cross-handed grip only to ditch that method after just two days.

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, photos and videos

A tie for 56th in his first start of 2016 at the Sony Open only solidified that narrative, but then came the Northern Trust Open, where the Australian finished runner-up but, more importantly, gained an average of 4.751 strokes on the field putting.

If strokes gained-putting doesn’t resonate with you, consider that in 2015, when Scott managed nothing better than a tie for fourth place and failed to advance past the first FedEx Cup playoff event, he lost .396 strokes per round.

Last week at the Honda Classic he was even more impressive on the greens, converting 68 of 73 attempts for the week from 10 feet and in for a one-stroke victory.

It was more of the same on Friday at Doral when he birdied his first two holes and played his last four in 3 under par.

In other sports they call that “finishing strong.”

“I've gotten off to good starts and good finishes. When you're playing pretty good anyway, that helps your scoring a lot,” Scott said. “I hope I can rely on that the next two days.”

If Scott’s take doesn’t exactly sound effusive, Dustin Johnson, who played with Scott the first two days at Doral, had a more enthusiastic take on the leader’s play.

“He's driving it in the fairway and hitting the greens and rolling in the putts you're supposed to,” said Johnson, who is tied with Rory McIlroy in second place at 8 under. “He played well yesterday and today. I played well today. Yesterday I was just watching a lot.”

But then if Scott isn’t exactly bouncing around Doral this week he’s come by his measured approach honestly. The 2014-15 season was something of a learning experience even for a player who had won 11 Tour titles.

Although he’s reluctant to talk about it, he also felt the drumbeat of the impending ban on anchoring. While there was always confidence he could make the transition to something, anything, different, there was also the fear of the unknown.

“It's hard to play at the top, top level for a long period of time. I think there's one guy [Tiger Woods] who seemed to make that look a lot easier than it really is,” Scott said. “I feel like I had a really great run of golf for about four years, which was good, and last year, I was just off and struggling to find it week in and week out.”

Scott had been through this before, most notably in 2009 when he missed more cuts (10) than he made (nine) and needed to be a captain’s pick for that year’s Presidents Cup.

He would rebound from that valley, winning five times over the next four seasons, including the 2013 Masters.

All of which means that if the road back to competitive relevance is long, at least for Scott it’s a path well traveled, which made his most recent climb much less concerning 

"Since the Presidents Cup, really, I've just been working to put my game back into that consistent spot, and yeah, it's taken this long to really get it up to that level,” Scott said. “That's how hard it is to play at a really high level out here. It can go quick and it takes a little while to come back.”

Whether the weekend at Doral turns out to be another strong finish like last week at PGA National or not, it’s safe to say that after three stellar weeks he’s back.

Getty Images

McIlroy 'committed to everything ... ran out of holes'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 7:08 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy summed it up: “I don’t really feel like it’s a defeat. I feel like it’s a good week.”

McIlroy, in search of his fifth major, tied for the lead at The Open late on Sunday at Carnoustie when he made eagle on the par-5 14th hole. An hour later, he had made five consecutive pars to close out a 1-under 70 and tie for second place with Justin Rose, Kevin Kisner and Xander Schauffele.

That group ended two shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. McIlroy thought it was realistic to squeeze one more shot out of his round, but he never though it was possible to squeeze out two.

“I committed to everything,” he said. “I hit the shots when I needed to. I made good swings on 17 and on 18. I just ran out of holes.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

McIlroy hasn’t played poorly this year, but this hasn't been a year that would rank as a total success. He took the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and collected a second-place finish at the BMW PGA Championship. He had a legitimate chance to win the Masters before a terrible Sunday round, and then missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at Shinnecock Hills.

Sunday at Carnoustie, McIlroy bogeyed two of his first five holes and quickly became an afterthought. When others faltered, McIlroy birdies Nos. 9 and 11, then eagled 14 to vault back into the picture.

“I’m happy with how I played,” he said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I hung in there, and I battled back.

“So I’ll look back at this week and be very encouraged about what I’ve done and the golf that I played. I feel like that will stand me in good stead for what’s coming up.”

McIlroy is scheduled to play the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks, followed by the PGA Championship and the FedExCup Playoffs.

Getty Images

Edoardo, other pros congratulate Francesco on Twitter

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:54 pm

Francesco Molinari played a bogey-free weekend at Carnoustie to claim Italy's first claret jug.

His rock-solid performance in the final round earned him his share of social media plaudits.

Here's a collection of Twitter hat-tips, and we start off with Frankie's brother, Dodo.

Getty Images

Woods: Fan who yelled had 'tipped back a few'

By Jay CoffinJuly 22, 2018, 6:37 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods stood on the 18th tee and thought he needed birdie to have a chance to win The Open. He pulled driver out of his bag, a sign he wanted to boot the ball as far down the fairway as possible.

Woods took a mighty swat and - right in the middle of his downswing - someone yelled. Woods flinched.

Luckily his ball still found a decent spot just off the right of the fairway.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’ve had things like that happen a lot in my career with people who just tried to time it,” Woods said Sunday at Carnoustie after shooting 71 to tie for sixth place. “They tipped back a few, and it’s late in the day.

“Unfortunately, that’s part of what we have to deal with in today’s game. People are trying to yell out things to try to be on TV or be in social media or whatever it may be. That was too close to the game of play.”

Woods hit his approach to 6 feet and missed the birdie putt. He tapped in for par to shoot even par and finish 5 under for the week, in a tie for sixth.

Getty Images

Pros melt down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 6:30 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and, for a little while, took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros were watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We compiled some of their missives below:

Woods would go on to finish in a tie for sixth at 5 under par for the week.