Adam Scott hasn’t played a competitive round since he tied for eighth at the Sony Open of Hawaii on Jan. 12. But the second-ranked Scott, who along with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods is skipping this week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain, is gearing up to return to action at next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and he spoke to the media from his home base in the Bahamas for the Masters champion’s teleconference on Tuesday morning.
Asked how many times he had tried on his green jacket in front of the mirror, Scott said, “When I get to Augusta, it will be about 365 times, I reckon.” He’s made tentative plans to tee it up there with his father, Phil, who has never played the course. Scott believes his fellow Australians might be freed up now that one of them has finally won the Masters, and Jason Day in particular is “quite likely” to win one. Scott also said he was particularly moved when he was shown a photograph of him making his crucial putt on the 18th hole last April because the photo showed Scott’s playing partner, fellow Aussie Marc Leishman, applauding the made putt.
“An incredible gesture of sportsmanship,” Scott said, adding that he took the unusual step of sending Leishman a signed photo of the moment.
Herewith, the other highlights from the press conference.
On the length of his break, and what he’s been doing:
“I've been up to not a lot. I've really tried to do not too much and take a little off time and enjoy myself. In the last three weeks I've been working on the game; and the last two weeks with my coach, Brad [Malone], he's here. So we're tuning up for Honda. I haven't been competitive but I've certainly been working on all areas of the game. Like where it's going. It's not the first time I've taken a six-week break at the start of the year. I mean, last year, I think I took 11 weeks off between events. So I don't think -- I'm hoping, anyway, that there's not going to be too much rust next week at Honda.”
On how long the euphoria of winning the Masters lasted:
“I think the interesting thing is … the feeling and sense of accomplishment doesn't last very long. You know, it basically goes through that night and you wake up the next day, and that event's over, and everyone's moving on. You can kind of bask in the glory yourself for a little bit but as soon as you're back out to play again, everyone's moved on and there's a new trophy to play for.” On what he was doing wrong before 2010, when he sat down for an honest but painful evaluation of his career to that point:
“I think back then, I certainly just relied too much on talent and kind of threw the balls up in the air in the hope that I was going to have a good week at the Masters and a good week at the U.S. Open and the Open the PGA, and it was kind of luck of the draw whether that showed up, and it never did. It did at the Players that week [in 2004], but it didn't at the other ones. ...
“The talent was there, but the right preparation and structure may not have been for me at that time to take that next step beyond the Players and go and be a consistent performer in the majors at a young age.”
On the difference between getting into a playoff and getting into a playoff that you wind up winning:
“If you've practiced enough and you've done enough work, then you want that and that's the only way you're going to win. You can’t expect it to be handed to you, so you’ve got to really deep in your gut want that to happen.”
On the club losing its famed Eisenhower Tree, which stood on the 17th hole, to an ice storm:
“Anything that lives will eventually die I guess, and this one maybe early. … The course has evolved over all these years with natural changes and man made changes. So it all -- it's taken on a lot of different looks over the last 10, 15, 20 years and now we've got another different look, and, you know, whether they replace it or not, it was a pretty tight hole, so from a golfing standpoint, I kind of think seeing a little bit more of the fairway will be a nice thing.”
On Tiger’s play in the majors:
“I don't necessarily think it's that Tiger is not a factor. He certainly is a factor. He's the No. 1 player in the world, and he's always there or thereabouts. It's he's on a dry spell at the moment and that's what happens in a career.
“Jack Nicklaus had a run like that and he's still the greatest player of all time. It wouldn't surprise me that Tiger comes and wins again this year, but I think there's my generation of player is feeling like their time is now, so they have got to take advantage of it.”
On what he might serve for the Champions Dinner:
“I'm actually working on that this week. … I'd like to serve something that everyone will really enjoy, and nothing too crazy so that they won't. But probably no surprise to anyone, there's definitely going to be an Australian theme toward every part of the dinner, and whether that means they are eating kangaroo, I'm not sure yet, but we'll see.”