TO THE TOP

Three years af­ter his short stint as World No 1, Scott con­fi­dent he’s get­ting back there

New Straits Times - - Sport -

NEW YORK

ADAM Scott is con­fi­dent his best days are still ahead, even though al­most three years have passed since he en­joyed a short reign as world num­ber one.

As he heads to this week’s Play­ers Cham­pi­onship in Florida, where he burst onto the Amer­i­can golf scene with a win in 2004, Scott is work­ing to­wards peak­ing for the busi­ness sec­tion of the sea­son, af­ter flirt­ing with con­tention at the US Masters where he fin­ished equal ninth.

At 36, an age tra­di­tion­ally slightly past a player’s peak, he has peace of mind that comes with hav­ing won a ma­jor, the 2013 Masters, and be­lieves that be­ing largely in­jury-free should al­low him to con­tinue play­ing well for many years.

“I still feel like I’ve got a long win­dow,” the Aus­tralian World No 11 said at last week’s Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship, where he tied for 36th.

“I’ve at least won my first ma­jor. Five years ago there was def­i­nitely a sense of ur­gency be­cause I hadn’t won a ma­jor and I felt I was a good enough player to, and (was won­der­ing) is it go­ing to hap­pen?

“I’m rel­a­tively stress-free, in­jury-free. I want (suc­cess) just as much as I wanted it be­fore.”

Scott spent 11 weeks as the world’s top-ranked player, sup­plant­ing Tiger Woods in May 2014.

He is try­ing to jug­gle the de­mands of top-level golf with fam­ily life. He has a two-year-old daugh­ter, with Swedish wife Marie ex­pect­ing their sec­ond child in Au­gust.

As much as he en­joys life at home dur­ing his time off, Scott ad­mits to watch­ing plenty of golf on tele­vi­sion, and get­ting itchy feet when he watches his peers.

Long re­garded as one of the pre­mier long-game ex­po­nents, he says his short game has im­proved un­der the tute­lage of Aus­tralian in­struc­tor Matt Bal­lard, even if it did not look like it at Au­gusta.

“My short game was re­ally sharp the first few events,” he said.

“At Au­gusta it wasn’t as good as I would have liked but I put my­self in some pretty tough spots too, so it’s un­fair to be too crit­i­cal. I’ve def­i­nitely seen some im­prove­ment.”

Scott is older than the cur­rent top five in the world, and has watched with in­ter­est as Dustin John­son has taken a grip on the num­ber one rank­ing.

John­son won three straight starts, be­fore fin­ish­ing tied sec­ond in the Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship, de­spite be­ing rusty af­ter time off re­cov­er­ing from a fall that hurt his back and kept him out of the Masters.

But Scott ob­served that a golfer’s place in the pan­theon of greats was mea­sured over a ca­reer, not a cou­ple of months.

“He’s in a sweet spot at the mo­ment where ev­ery­thing feels very easy and free, a place where we all oc­ca­sion­ally get to,” Scott said of John­son.

“But you’ve got to keep it there for a few years and I did for a while but it’s slowly get­ting back to where I’d like it to be at the mo­ment and, hope­fully, I’m back up chal­leng­ing for some ma­jors soon.” Reuters

Adam Scott

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