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Scott 'Excited' about This Week
Though he was replaced on Monday by a red-hot Rory McIlroy as the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Adam Scott is still among the favorites this week in the PGA Championship, which tees off Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.
The 34-year-old Aussie has performed well in the wraparound 2013-14 season, despite his only victory of the season coming in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in late May,. In just 12 events, he's recorded eight top-10s and missed the cut only twice en route to earning $3,262,804 on the year.
In 13 previous PGA championships, he's had four top-10s finishes, including a T-5 last year at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Scott, of course, earned his breakthrough Grand Slam victory in the 2013 Masters.
"I've been playing really solid golf this summer and not really got the result I want, which is a win," Scott told reporters Tuesday. "And 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."
But Scott knows that McIlroy - who's comes to Kentucky off two straight big victories in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone - is on a roll and deserves the top spot in the world. "It's not extremely disappointing," Scott said of falling into second place behind the 25-year-old Northern Irishman.
"I think the right guy is at No. 1 at the moment. He's played the best over the last couple months. And the way I think I like to see the rankings work, and No. 1 as the guy who is winning the most tournaments probably should be the No. 1 player; and he's won two well, three really big tournaments this summer, and I've won one event.
"My consistent play is good, but you want the rankings to work and favor guys that win big events like that. So I think it's fair at the moment. You know, I hope that I could go ahead and win this week and maybe go back to No. 1. But there's no doubt Rory has played the best golf over the last few months."
Scott will be paired in first two rounds of the year's fourth and final major with Texan Jordan Spieth and England's Lee Westwood. He's looking forward to the challenge being presented by the Jack Nicklaus-designed Valhalla course, site of the 2000 PGA Championship won by Tiger Woods. Here's what Scott had to tell the media during his Tuesday sit-down with them.
MODERATOR: Adam Scott, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 96th PGA Championship. This will be Adam's 14th PGA Championship. You're getting close; you were seventh in 2011, tied for 11th in 2012 and tied for fifth last year in the PGA Championship. How about some general thoughts on the golf course and your thoughts on your game coming in.
ADAM SCOTT: 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.
My game is generally in good shape. I wished I could have played a little better last week. I got to test my short game a little more than I would have liked, but it seemed to be up to the challenge, which is good, and I think the swing is falling into a nice kind of rhythm here the last couple days, so I'm excited for this week.
MODERATOR: Tied for 9th at the U.S. Open, tied for fifth at the Open Championship, any particular part of your game going well now or just all combined?
ADAM SCOTT: I've been playing really solid golf this summer and not really got the result I want, which is a win. And 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.
Q. You said it will be good for scoring. Do you expect it's going to be deep early and are you going to need to get off to a hot start like you did last year?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I mean, I think we've seen the last couple majors, and even the last couple of events, guys really putting their foot down and shooting some good scores, and if you're behind in a major, it's even harder to come back. It doesn't happen very often. So weather conditions being good, I think there are going to be good scores. It's nice, I have an early morning tee time, so hopefully I can take advantage of that.
Q. Things go in cycles out here, but there was a long stretch of first time winners in the majors until this year, but this year all three majors have been repeat winners. Can you just talk a little bit about the value that experience brings as a former major champion coming in here?
ADAM SCOTT: 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.
Q. Obviously we see that Tiger has more injury struggles at the moment. I just wonder if you could talk a little bit about your own sort of approach to working out and how much of that is centered around the process of preventing injury as much as strengthening work.
ADAM SCOTT: 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. And as I've matured or evolved as a golfer and 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.
Q. I wanted to ask you about sustaining excellence over a period of time. How do you analyze that and go about trying to do that? Is it primarily a skill set issue or an attitudinal issue or a pacing issue, how do you analyze that?
ADAM SCOTT: I think it's part of all of what you said. I think if you look at anyone excelling in anything they have done, they have really committed to what they want to do and they have kept their mind set the same. They are obviously very driven and never satisfied with you can be satisfied with your achievement, but always believing that there's something better, I guess. You know, it's hard to keep intensity for extended periods of time, so you have to balance that with good routines and process so that intensity can waiver. Mentally and physically you can get a break, but then still compete at a high level when you need to. Everything's a balance, and I think the last couple years for myself, I've done a better job of balancing how to perform at a high level more often, even though I still would like to perform better again. It's a constantly evolving process of trying to get better.
Q. You've been out here long enough to see I guess now a couple of different guys play some pretty dominant golf and yourself sort of included in that. Just curious what it's sort of like to go up against that when you're playing particularly well; and then secondly, do you think we are sort of in an era now where we are seeing a few different guys or maybe one or two different guys kind of do that, and sort of moving into this era as we go forward.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, we see a lot of great golf played all the time for sure. You know, the dominance of Tiger's play over a 10 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. And I think 10 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. But, you know, it's only motivating to see Rory play so well and know that I've said a lot that I feel this is my time, so I've got to beat whatever Rory is trying out there and I believe I can.
Q. It's well documented the last few years you've made some changes and you've been the most consistent player in the majors the last three years, but is it a point now where only wins are good enough? You've proven you're up there every time, but now you've got to win them, right?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think it's getting to that point where it would be a nice way to keep my momentum in the majors going. You never know how this game can go. It's always on a knife's edge, winning and losing, and having some momentum or not, and performing consistently well to struggling. It's not that big of a difference. My goal this week is obviously to contend and hopefully to win this golf tournament, and to do that would keep some great momentum going in the great scheme of things. If you look at my career, I would have won two majors in the last two years. It does have a nice ring to it, I must admit, and can really propel me into next year to keep the same thing going.
Q. I guess I'm also asking, if you walk away second or third, is that good enough?
ADAM SCOTT: 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.
Q. You said how you took a moment to celebrate when you became world No. 1. On the other side of the coin, how much of a disappointment has it been to lose your No. 1 status?
ADAM SCOTT: It's not extremely disappointing. I think the right guy is at No. 1 at the moment. He's played the best over the last couple months. And the way I think I like to see the rankings work, and No. 1 as the guy who is winning the most tournaments probably should be the No. 1 player; and he's won two well, three really big tournaments this summer, and I've won one event. Yeah, my consistent play is good, but you want the rankings to work and favor guys that win big events like that. So I think it's fair at the moment. You know, I hope that I could go ahead and win this week and maybe go back to No. 1. But there's no doubt Rory has played the best golf over the last few months.
Q. You had the early lead in the long drive contest. Did you give that swing a little extra something, and what did you think of them having this contest today?
ADAM SCOTT: I didn't really know much about it, but it was my first hole of the day at 7:00 this morning, and wasn't really warmed up for it, and surprised myself. I got one out of the middle and probably got 30 yards of run on it (smiling). It was fun. It held up for a little while. You know, I think it's good. I don't know if there are people up there watching it on the 10th tee? I hope there is. I think it will probably be fun for everyone to kind of have something to cheer for on a day like today.
Q. Sergio was asked last week whose demeanor he admired the most, and he mentioned you and the way you handled everything at Lytham. What are your thoughts on that? And secondly, is learning how to be a good loser, or lose graciously, is that something that comes naturally
ADAM SCOTT: I'm a great loser, thanks. (Laughter).
Q. Is that something that comes natural or is it something that you have to teach yourself? The gracious part, Adam, not the loser.
ADAM SCOTT: Thanks, Doug. I think we all look at each other's strengths and weaknesses and draw from it, whether it's a guy's swing technique or his attitude, or what worked well for them. You want to some things come naturally and some things, don't, and you want to try and adapt so that you get the best out of yourself in every situation. 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.
MODERATOR: Masters champion, Adam Scott, thank you very much.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.