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Scott Looks for Two in a Row; Addresses Williams Issue
Adam Scott is an easygoing fellow, so he was a bit taken aback when several touring professionals criticized his new caddie, Steve Williams - the former long-time employee of Tiger Woods, who talked to the press after Scott won last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in convincing fashion.
Williams famously told reporters that Scott's victory was "the best week of his life" and "the best win I've ever had." Some pros took Williams' comments to the press - and there were many more than those two quotes - as consigning Scott's fine performance to the background. After all, Williams didn't swing the clubs, Scott did.
After a practice round Tuesday at Atlanta Athletic Club, site of this week's PGA Championship, the media wanted to know Scott's thoughts on his caddie, as well as the golf course and his chances in the final major of the year.
In essence, the 31-year-old Aussie thinks the whole situation was blown out of proportion and that Williams wasn't trying to "steal" his moment. "I certainly don't think that was his intention to steal my moment at all," Scott said Tuesday. "But you know, he was asked these questions and he gave his honest answer I assume, and with a lot of things to do with anything related to Tiger Woods, it's all scrutinized and blown out of proportion a lot of the time I think.
"So this is no different. And he said that was not his intention at all to do that. But he was asked a question, and he gave an honest answer. So, you know, I said, that's fair enough. Hopefully we'll just go and let our clubs do the talking for the rest of the week now."
Here's what else the confident and calm Scott had to say during his session with the press.
MODERATOR: Fresh off his victory Sunday in Akron, Ohio, Adam Scott join us at the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. This will be Adam's 11th PGA Championship appearance. His first was here in 2001 at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Adam, great playing at Bridgestone over the weekend. Must give you a lot of confidence coming into the season's final major.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. Certainly nice to come into a major on some form and with a win. So exciting to be back here at Atlanta Athletic Club. I didn't have the most memorable time here in my first appearance, but hopefully that will change, and the course is, you know, setting up nicely for me, I think. So exciting week. Hopefully carry on the form of last week.
MODERATOR: Before we open up for questions, you played the back nine. Just some initial impressions of the golf course.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, the course is in magnificent condition, and it's quite long and demanding off the tee. I think driving the golf ball this week is certainly going to be the only way to create opportunity for birdies. You must be in the fairway. So I think a premium on driving and from there, you know, it's just going to require a lot of good golf, too. It's a very demanding golf course.
Q. Have you ever won a golf tournament where your caddie got more coverage? And what do you think about what's happened the last couple of days with all of the story?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I mean, no is the answer to that question. (Smiling.) But it was incredible; even just walking around the course, so many of the gallery were cheering for Steve. So that was fun. And you know, I kind of think it's been blown out of proportion, unsurprisingly kind of, but you know, it's - I guess it's newsworthy stuff. I don't know. You know, Steve was obviously delighted to win, as was I. And you know, speaking with a bit of emotion probably.
Q. It's been 16 years since an Australian has won a PGA and five since we've had a major; is it time now, you're in form, Jason's in form, Geoff's coming along?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's always time. I mean, look, it's so hard to predict these things. Obviously Jason's got to be feeling good and I'm feeling like I'm playing well. Geoff can play well any given week, and he's got the big-time game. He's won a lot of world events and majors; so have the other Aussies who are here this week. So I think we've got a strong contingent, but you know, you just never know what's going to happen. Four days at a major is tough to predict, because it can all change so quickly on a couple holes. You know, on these demanding golf courses, you just have to stay so focused and in the moment and try and take each hole as it comes I guess. So I'd like to think that one of us will play really well this week and contend. I think that's a probability.
Q. I'm sure you always thought you could win a major, but what did the Masters do this year that maybe pushed forward your belief, if it did?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it did for sure. Just playing well on the back nine Sunday at the Masters was the thing that kind of pushed the belief forward. I know I didn't win the Masters. But you know, I felt like I did everything I had to do. To be honest, I never considered birdieing the last four holes at Augusta National. I never even considered birdieing the last two. So it was just great to hit a lot of good shots and play a great back nine and make some putts in that situation that I had never really been in before. And that's what I took from that. And then I did it again this Sunday. I felt like I played really well on the back nine at the right time in a big tournament. Those are big things for your confidence that really help you believe that you can win a major championship.
Q. Can you take us through what prompted you to go to the long putter? I mean, you've obviously always been a very good ball-striker. Was there one tournament, one round, where you said, that's enough and you've got to try something? And why has it worked well for you?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it wasn't one specific tournament or anything or I reached boiling point. I came back from the Hawaiian events this year early in the year, and I lost my rhythm quickly when I was in Hawaii with the putting. Frustrating, because one day it's there and the next day it's not, and that's kind of how the whole of 2010 went. I think my coach, Brad, had seen enough of that, and he knew how frustrated I was, because the rest of my game was in good shape. While I was in Hawaii, he had gone down to a golf shop at home and bought a long putter and started messing around with it himself. When I went home, I had no idea, but he came over to my place and we started putting, and he had this long putter, and out of curiosity, he knew I was going to ask about what's going on here.
So I started putting with it, and then he started telling me all of the good things he saw about putting with the long putter. And, you know, a week or so in, it was feeling really good. After about three weeks, we decided, this is it, I'm going to go with the long putter when I next play, because it just really gave me that awareness of how a putter should swing again. And I was forcing it so much with a short putter, and it took a few weeks of practice at home, but I felt comfortable with it straightaway.
Q. Aside from being in good form in terms of the golf, is there anything that's difficult coming into a major off a win, particularly one as big as Bridgestone, in terms of shifting your concentration or preparation, demands off the course, that sort of thing?
ADAM SCOTT: I think the only thing is just kind of the mental and physical letdown after coming down off cloud nine of winning, and trying to get yourself back -- make sure you can get yourself back up and alert and aware and ready to go for Thursday. Because there's always that thing where you put so much into a win, whether it's the weeks leading up and then the tournament; but it certainly takes something out of you, winning a golf tournament. You know, I've had a pretty quiet Monday and Tuesday, which has been good, and I think a quiet Wednesday will be good, too. I think I'm going to need my energy this week, and by the time Thursday comes around, I think I'll be able to get myself back up to compete here at the PGA.
Q. You said the Stevie incident you feel is blown out of proportion. A lot of other players even said that he kind of stole your moment. Do you feel that he stole your moment, and did you say anything to him afterwards, or has he said anything to you since about how it all has kind of blown up?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I certainly don't think that was his intention to steal my moment at all. But you know, he was asked these questions and he gave his honest answer I assume, and with a lot of things to do with anything related to Tiger Woods, it's all scrutinized and blown out of proportion a lot of the time I think. So this is no different. And he said that was not his intention at all to do that. But he was asked a question, and he gave an honest answer. So, you know, I said, that's fair enough. Hopefully we'll just go and let our clubs do the talking for the rest of the week now.
Q. A lot of players who have struggled with their putting often say that as the struggles continue, they press to hit the ball closer. Did that happen to you, and do you find now that you've taken some of the pressure off your long games since you're making more putts?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, that's absolutely what happens. Whether it's - the pressure is all on the long game and your chipping, as well. It's really important to hit greens when you're putting poorly, and I think on your chipping, is even worse, because you need to chip it so close to make sure you're going to make the putt, and that's not easy on some chips. So absolutely it puts so much pressure on the rest of your game, and I felt like the rest of my game was in good shape. But I couldn't let it all happen, because I wasn't able to play freely, because the putting was so inconsistent, and this has absolutely freed up the rest of my game. It's certainly a different kind of confidence I have now when I walk onto a golf course. I feel like, oh, I can fall back on my putting if the long game is not there that day; and if it is there, I can really take advantage of it. It's a nice feeling to have a little confidence and consistency, I think is the real thing that I lacked with putting.
Q. Maybe this isn't the question to ask somebody who wore all black on Sunday, but how do you deal with the heat, and is it a situation where you've got to be very careful not to use up too much energy in your practice rounds?
ADAM SCOTT: For this week, absolutely, I think it's very easy to get stuck on the range for a few hours or go out and play the course too long - too many times, or be out there too long. I think we definitely have to conserve some energy this week and do all of the right things that the fitness people will say, to drink water and the electrolytes and put all of that back in your body. Because it is; it's extreme heat here, and it's not very comfortable to play in, but we are going to be out there for 5 1/2 hours and going to have to deal with it. So I think saving energy is a good thing and I feel like I'm in a good position to do that, because my game is in good shape and I don't need to spend too much time out there working on the range.
Q. With Tiger having struggled to win the last two years, how would you characterize the state of the sport right now, and secondarily, who, if anyone, do you follow from the sport of golf on Twitter?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think the state of golf, I think it's in a really interesting time right now. I think it's in good shape to be perfectly honest with you. You know, what we've seen this year have been a lot of great stories, and you know, with some really high-quality young players who are living up to their potential quickly like Rory and Ryo and Matteo Manassero winning, teenagers (chuckling). You know, I think the competition is strong at the moment. Luke Donald's played amazing, Lee Westwood is playing amazing, and now we have Tiger healthy again, so this is going to be interesting for everyone to watch, because we are all so interested in what he does and how he plays; has such a big factor on the game. You know, I think it's a very interesting place for golf right now and how the young guys, you know, coming up continue to play and how Tiger plays now, he's fit and healthy, and it's exciting to watch.
Q. And Twitter?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't follow anyone on Twitter because I don't use it actually. I just hear a lot of stuff. (Smiling.)
Q. Sort of following that, that you don't have a Twitter account, you've always been relatively laid back and you like your privacy. Do you think that when you do become one of the best players in the world, you lose some of that, that you have to give up some of that? Has that been a conflict for you, and are you willing to do what it takes to be in the focus every week?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I mean, that's part of the job, and I got used to it at certain points in golf, absolutely. You know, we are playing out in the public eye, and you do lose some of your privacy with that. But that's my job. I'm very comfortable with that. There are certain times that it's been uncomfortable, and I'm not used to that, if it's away from the golf course, because I think, you know, by nature, I'm a fairly shy person, and don't like to attract a lot of attention to myself. So there have been some awkward situations, but yeah, that's just what happens with this job and playing well, I guess. You're in the public eye somewhat, and I'm very comfortable with that, and I certainly wouldn't shy away from attention if I were to be the best player in the world. I think I'd be proud of that fact, that I was the best player in the world, and everything that goes with it.
Q. What does Stevie bring to your game, and how has he helped you become a better player?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think obviously he's one of the best caddies out there, there's no doubt about it. He brings all of that experience from 30 years of caddying, and more recently, all of the experience of being in contention so much at big tournaments. But you know, he's had quite an insight into my game right from the get-go of what he's seen and what he believes I need to do to be a bit better and win majors and contend in majors on a regular basis, because I told him that's what I want to do.
And I think he's a great motivator for me so far. Obviously when you start fresh with a new caddie any time, it's a good vibe and a good rapport. We are getting on really well, and you've got to ride that. But then the longer you stay with someone, it's important to keep that going. He's a very motivated guy. He's out here to win. He loves winning. And you know, I think that's good for me to keep my motivation going; he can certainly push me. And so far, he's just brought a lot of confidence toward me in the way -- everything he says, and the way he acts. Filling me with confidence is a good thing. That's a good thing for a caddie to do to a player. So far, it's been fantastic.
Q. A couple of players have suggested this morning that they might have had a quiet word with their caddies if they had come out with what Steve had said; have you needed to have any kind of conversation with him to advise him to be maybe a little more restrained in his public statements about Tiger?
ADAM SCOTT: Look, you know, having a quiet word with Steve is - (chuckling) - not very easy. He's a big guy, you know. Look, we've had our chat about the whole thing, and he feels the way he feels. And look, I just took what he said, again, as confidence for me. If he really feels that that was one of his great wins, then you know, I'm kind of flattered and it fills me with confidence, and I think that's what his intention is to be honest. He was really excited to win. Obviously he had not won for a little while, and for him, he's really passionate about it, and that's what I see. And when you're passionate and in that situation, you know, I think it all got a little out of hand, but you know, we'll just go on from there. And hopefully, like I said, we'll let our clubs do the talking for the rest of this week.
Q. You were talking about what you thought -- somebody asked what you Stevie brought to you. Also Nick Faldo was saying yesterday that he brought some passion and fire that you needed, as well. Everybody has looked at you as a little laid-back and not quite had that fire under your belly; do you think that was the case with what Stevie has brought to your game?
ADAM SCOTT: Like I said, he's really passionate about it and he's into it. He wants to be out there to win, and he is a driven guy. You know, he's very motivated, and he absolutely brings that. And you know, I am a laid-back guy, but I do have the fire in my belly. But you know, maybe he's going to help keep it burning all the time. You know, just like I said, right now, he's certainly bringing all of these things, and keeping me motivated. So we're working well together.
Q. The All Black, I saw a story in Australia that you lost a bet, that that was a bet for the All Blacks is the reason you wore the black on Sunday -
ADAM SCOTT: Don't. That's not true at all. (Shaking head.) That's never happening, let me tell you. (Laughter.) I'm never wearing black for New Zealand, that's for sure.
Q. You've won before majors; I think you won in Houston before coming to Augusta and you won at the Players Championship in your last start before the Masters. Is it possible to peak too soon? Is it hard to sustain that momentum into the major week when you do win the week before, and is that something maybe you've learned from your past experience?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I've certainly found it difficult to carry the form over to the next week. Yeah, I've won a few times before a major and I've won a few times the week after a major, as well. But it's very hard to like peak for a certain week. The thing that I like about what I've learnt from all my years out here is my preparation is a lot more consistent now. Week-in and week-out, I'm doing very similar routines in practice and I had not played in the week before a major until obviously this one this year. But my preparation beforehand was the same as it was for any other major, so I feel like I'm doing all of the same things all the time, so it should not be too hard to kind of keep a consistent level coming in this week. You know, I keep saying consistent all the time. I'm just trying to not have big ups and downs, and my practice has definitely been a lot better this year. And certainly, putting is helping this. But I think with the way I've set it up, it shouldn't be as hard as it was in the past to carry a bit of form into a major. We'll see.
Q. One of the things that Steve told me was that when he first started working with you, he said he told you that he felt that you had underachieved in your career, and I'm wondering if you've ever felt that way, and if so, sort of how and when did that change for you, your own perception of yourself?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, he did say that. And I guess I take that as a compliment; that he thinks I've got ability to do better. I mean, sometimes I think I've won a fair few tournaments around the world and here in the States, and I think I've had a fairly good first 10 years of my career, but you know, Steve only sees really excellence is what I think, and that's what he expects out of himself and then the people he works for. So he was very honest with me in his opinion of my game and everything, and he thinks I've got the game to win majors. Look, I mean, yeah, if I was being a harsh critic of myself, I could say I've underachieved. I feel like sometimes I play as good as anyone, and it's never been at the biggest tournaments, and that's really what I tried to change this year; not just from what Steve had to say, but this year, I felt like my game had really taken some big steps last year. And now putting better, I feel like, okay, I need to be performing in majors, World Golf Championships, Players, all the big events. I feel that's where my game's at. I feel it's maybe more of a maturity of my game or my outlook even.
Q. When a player goes to the long putter, is it considered a last resort? And what was the range of reactions from other players when you were on the putting green when you first unveiled that thing?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, maybe. I'm not too sure where I go from here if this doesn't pan out for me (laughter). Someone will have to invent something. I guess it is considered kind of a last resort. I mean, I was very frustrated and I hadn't thought about it. So yeah, I guess it's a last resort. Got some interesting reactions. Certainly turned a few heads when I showed up at the Match Play with a long putter. But to be honest, I think a few people have taken notice of the way I'm rolling the ball. I mean, it's a noticeable improvement from where I was. So you know, as they have watched me putt on the putting green and stuff, it's gotten guys' interest, that's for sure.
Q. A lot of people think the long putter should be banned. What's your response to that?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, you know, I probably was one of those people. I mean, if I'm being a golf purist. But it's not, so I don't really worry about it. You know, it's interesting, I don't know how -- not that many people use it and not that many people have great success. I don't often see guys winning tournaments with a broomstick-style putter. So I don't know what the big problem is for the other guys. They seem to win without it. But you know, it's within the rules at the moment, and I'm very happy about that (smiling).
Q. This is going to sound ridiculous for just about everyone in this room?
ADAM SCOTT: Okay.
Q. Stop shaking your head. But given what you said about not playing your best in the biggest events, but was turning 30 last year any big deal?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, to be honest, it felt quite good to turn 30, because I kind of took myself out of these "young guns" in my mind. I don't want to see "young gun" written next to my name anymore -- thanks, guys. No, it was, it was good. I certainly had a bit of a roller coaster leading up to my 30th with my play and my life, and I think I just grew up a lot on the golf course and off the golf course, and I felt good about turning 30 and I think I've got a really good take on what I need to do for my career moving forward. I've said it I think a few times now, but I believe this has got to be the best ten years of my career coming up, and if I can build on what I have achieved already, then I think, you know, it's going to be a great 10 years.
MODERATOR: Adam Scott, thank you very much.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.