Scott to take on course demons
ADAM Scott is poised to exorcise British Open demons at St Andrews after a string of calamitous near misses.
The US Masters winner believes he has finally “got to grips with links golf” after finishing second, third and equal fifth at his past three Open attempts.
The Queenslander, who turns 35 today, said the scars of a horrendous final- round collapse at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012 have healed.
Leading by four strokes with four holes to play, Scott’s hopes dissolved in a fog of poor course management and nerves as Ernie Els triumphed.
Two years ago, he led at Muirfield with seven holes to play, only to drop to a share of third in the face of Phil Mickelson’s unstoppable last- round surge.
With cold, blustery conditions forecast over the next four days, Scott says the harsh lessons from 2012 and ’ 13 will serve him well.
“I felt like I took a huge step that week ( at Royal Lytham and St Annes),” he said. “The last two years, following on from that I’ve had top five results.
“It shows me I’ve got to grips with links golf and I’d like to put it all together this week and finally win.”
Paired alongside German Martin Kaymer and American Jimmy Walker in the opening round, Scott has spent the past week on the Old Course soaking up its nuances.
Recent rain has left St Andrews soft and lush but Scott hopes the predicted winds blow – and hard.
“I’d like it to blow windy this week, I’m striking the ball well and it’s gonna play into my favour,” he said.
“You can’t be over- prepared for this one, so to come here for a week ( and) just get comfortable at least.
“You never know what it’s going to throw up at you – your plan could go out the door when you wake up and it’s some odd wind.
“I’m going to tee up Thursday feeling comfortable.”
One of 15 Australians in the field, Scott says if St Andrews bares its fangs – especially Saturday when the winds are tipped to peak – skill and imagination will be vital.
“There’s creativity and control required around links courses,” he said. “Maybe less as it’s a little softer but anyone in the field has the ability well enough to win.
“It’s a matter of executing. You have to hit the ball well in the wind, control the shot somewhere near where you were thinking, otherwise it can really get away from you.
“There is a big adjustment coming to play links golf when 51 other weeks of the year you don’t really play this style.
“Pulling a four iron for a 165 yards as a natural instinct takes a few fair rounds to get used to.
“That’s why I like coming early and, for me, it takes more than three days.”