Scott primed for major contention again
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 US PGA Championship | Preview | 06 Aug 2014
Adam Scott heads into this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla in Louisville Kentucky in some of the best form of his life and although without the result he has been hoping for this summer he knows that his game is in good enough shape to regain the world number one position with a second major championship victory.
“I’ve been playing really solid golf this summer and not really got the result I want, which is a win," said Scott On Tuesday.
“I think I just have to really put my head down and push through this week. Hopefully all aspects of my game are kind of firing, and they will need to be. A lot of the other players are playing some really great golf this summer, and ultimately, if it does, it will come down to who makes the most putts.”
Scott is delighted with the condition of Valhalla and sees the layout offering the perfect venue for some great scoring.
“Well, the golf course is presented for us beautifully this week. We are spoiled every time we show up at the PGA, but every week now, it’s like they have rolled the carpet out for a fairway. So there are no excuses there. It’s in great shape, and pretty conducive to good scoring this week I think. It’s generous off the tee and quite demanding into the greens. If you can hit good, solid shots in the right areas on the greens, you’re going to have a good chance at making some birdies this week, possibly some eagles out there, too, with reachable 5s. That’s going to be exciting for everyone to watch and for us to play."
With a major championship already under his belt and plenty of other great finishes in major championships over the past three years, Scott knows he has the game and the mindset to win more major championships and realises the importance of having ‘been there done that’.
“Well, it’s always handy to have some kind of experience if you’re playing in contention in a major. And if you’ve won a major, then you have that knowledge that you can do it, and I think that’s very helpful when you’re playing. All three guys who have won this year have won before, and I think you’re just seeing the cycle of this decade’s great players starting to write their part of golf history. All three of those guys have won all their majors in this decade.”
With a number of players under an injury cloud, Scott talked about the benefit of fitness to him and how it has impacted on his career to date.
“I think injury prevention is a huge thing. Obviously the golf swing is stressful on the body, especially at a high level and high repetitions like we put in. And I would say earlier in my career, the foundations of my training were probably based around injury prevention.
“As I’ve matured or evolved as a golfer and in my body, I’ve had to adjust and adapt and try and strengthen areas that weaken just through this repetition of beating golf balls.
“That’s kind of how I see it. There are areas in my body that I think are key to me swinging the club well, and I work on those, but I have to balance that with keeping enough freedom to be able to make a nice turn in the backswing and nice turn in the through swing and keep the back as supple as I possibly can, because that’s a big part of my swing.”
Scott’s consistency in major championship golf in recent times can be put down to things such as a revised schedule, the long putter, his immediate access to coach Brad Malone and the involvement of Steve Williams but he also gives credit to an increasing belief in himself.
“We see a lot of great golf played all the time for sure. You know, the dominance of Tiger’s play over a ten year period is unmatched, really, I’d have to say, and was quite incredible.
“I think the biggest difference between me seeing Tiger play like that when I was a lot younger, less experienced and not as good a player; and seeing a guy like Rory really stamp his authority down the last two weeks, you know, he’s played well the whole summer since he won over in Europe, so I guess for the last couple months, is that I believe I’m a better player and I can play at that level.
“I think ten or 15 years ago, I didn’t have that belief, through lack or experience or whatever it might be. I think the biggest thing that held me back was not believing and probably most guys felt like we were beaten before we got out there. And that’s different now for tons of reasons, I think.”
The outcome of that greater belief is that he now no longer settles for placings in major championships because he has the belief he can win when he tees it up. So would a 2nd or 3rd place this week be a good result?
“Well, not really, no. You know, it’s tough, but at some point you just have to look for wins, and that’s only what’s going to satisfy me. And, you know, I’ve had lots of good finishes in majors, but I left the Open extremely disappointed. I felt I played really well and I finished fifth, and there are lots of good things to take from that. But I still didn’t get to lift the trophy, and that’s the end of the day why I’m working hard and putting in so much. I would like to get the result.”
Scott also made reference (when asked) as to the old chestnut, impact his demise over the closing few holes at the Open Championship at Lytham & St Annes in 2012 had on him and how much it shapes his performances now.
“You know, the whole thing at Lytham, just quickly looking back on it, it was natural, but of course there was enormous disappointment. But I was just so happy to play, you know, so well, finally, at one of the big events where I felt like I really took control of the tournament. I felt I had that in me and been waiting 12 years to do it. And I think that eased some of the pain of the actual outcome. That was just the way it turned out for me.
“You know, looking at growing up, I think I had a role model from sitting back and watching Greg on TV. I watched him handle some pretty tough losses, as a kid. I’m sure he was cut up about a lot of them, but from watching him on TV, he seemed to handle them fairly graciously, and that’s what I saw, anyway. I tried to emulate most things he did as a kid and that was one of them. That’s where I got a lot of my golfing knowledge from.”