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Scott Has Moved on from Open Disappointment
Adam Scott is returning to competition for the first time since his devastating loss in the Open Championship two weeks ago to Ernie Els. The 29-year-old had his first major title in hand, leading by four strokes with four holes to go at Royal Lytham.
But disaster struck for the Aussie, who bogeyed the final four while Els birdied the last to eke out a one-shot victory over Scott. After a spending a week in Switzerland to get "away from everything for a few days up in the Alps," Scott has made his way to Ohio for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which starts Thursday at Firestone Country Club.
Scott's return to work is no doubt softened since he's the defending champion in the $8.5 million tournament. Last year he closed with rounds of 66 and 65 to win by four over Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler en route to capturing his ninth victory on the PGA Tour.
While he was away, Scott was able to decompress and reflect, noting on Wednesday at Firestone about losing the Claret Jug: "To be honest, I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb of feeling about it," he told reporters. "I certainly didn't beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner. But it just all kind of happened so fast, even looking back on it, how quickly it can slip away. And without doing that much wrong, it was just compounding mistakes.
"You know, I felt overall the whole week and the way I've looked at it is I played some amazing golf and did what I needed to do, and the things I've worked on are obviously working. The next few days were quiet, but they were just the same as after any other major. I pretty much find myself on the couch for about 48 hours after a major."
Here's what else Scott said to the media during a Q&A on the eve of the Bridgestone Invitational.
MODERATOR: We want to welcome our defending champion here at the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational Adam Scott. Maybe some comments to start about returning as a champion and memories of last year's event.
ADAM SCOTT: Always exciting to return as the defending champion, and there's always a little extra motivation, I guess, when you are defending, to try and hold on to your trophy. It's a great event. It's something that was a big win for me last year and brought a lot of confidence. It would be nice to play well this week, get in the mix, and hopefully build some more confidence. I mean, it would be quite an honor to defend a World Golf Championship with the field that's assembled this week.
MODERATOR: Talk about what you've done the last weeks since we saw you last.
ADAM SCOTT: I was in Switzerland at home last week, which was quite good, kind of got away from everything for a few days up in the Alps. And then just started practicing from Thursday, and I've been down at Kiawah the last couple days getting in a couple rounds for next week.
Q. After what happened at Lytham two weeks ago, is it sort of nice, for lack of a better term, to come back to a place where you have such good vibes from last year?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think so. I think it's just nice to be playing straightaway again, get out there. I'm obviously playing well, so it's important that, like I was saying, I should be confident here and try and build my own confidence and pick up some momentum as we come into a really important stretch to the year. The disappointment of Lytham shouldn't hold me back from taking advantage of the way I'm playing at the moment.
Q. Everyone talked about the composure immediately afterwards. I'm just curious what those next few days were like.
ADAM SCOTT: They were okay. To be honest, I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb of feeling about it. I certainly didn't beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner. But it just all kind of happened so fast, even looking back on it, how quickly it can slip away. And without doing that much wrong, it was just compounding mistakes. You know, I felt overall the whole week and the way I've looked at it is I played some amazing golf and did what I needed to do, and the things I've worked on are obviously working. The next few days were quiet, but they were just the same as after any other major. I pretty much find myself on the couch for about 48 hours after a major.
Q. Did you talk to anyone either by calling or someone calling you?
ADAM SCOTT: About what?
Q. Just in the few days afterwards, commensuration, if you will?
ADAM SCOTT: Look, I had a ton of messages and emails. I spoke to Greg Norman Sunday night. He called me, and that was great. He's obviously a good friend of mine and a big supporter, and he just wanted to make sure I was doing fine. Get back out there and work on the things that I think I should. But the messages from family and friends and golfers and some people I don't know how they got my number, actually. It really made the next few days good for me because it was very nice to have that kind of support. It made those few days much easier, I would say.
Q. Rory mentioned that yesterday he talked to you, and of course he had his own experience with a fourth round getting away from him. I was going to ask you about you said you went to Kiawah and now you're here this week. Does this course in any way, shape or form get you ready for Kiawah, or is that situation there so unique that there's really no other course that's a parallel?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think it's probably drawing a long bow to say this is going to get you ready for Kiawah. They're very different style golf courses. But Kiawah reminds me of a lot of golf courses. There's a lot of Sawgrass in there. It's a Pete Dye golf course. He has his kind of signature stamps on his design. And I've seen a lot of Sawgrass out there on some other courses. But no, it's different grass here and stuff, so this week is really not that much like Kiawah at all.
Q. My question was sort of asked. Just kind of run us through the healing process when you were in the Swiss Alps of getting over the whole thing, what you did. I know the calls helped, you mentioned.
ADAM SCOTT: No, that made me feel good. I think the messages and emails and that. Look, I can imagine how it probably looked. I haven't watched the coverage myself yet, but and if it was me watching somebody else, I certainly could feel for them. But for me, I really haven't - I'm disappointed that I didn't win from that position, but I left that major the same as I've left every other one, and that's empty handed. I've been disappointed a lot of times at majors, even though I've never been closer to one maybe.
There wasn't that much healing for me. I mean, my game is in really great shape, and I just took a few days to rest up, and I certainly analyzed the last few holes a little bit and took out of it what I wanted and then just thought about how great I played. I felt like it was my week, and I played like a champion, but I just didn't - I played four poor holes at the end, and you can't win and do that. It's just motivation for me. I think I'm right on the right track, keep doing what I'm doing and I can get myself more chances like that.
Q. You just mentioned how you've analyzed and gone through it. Would you do anything different, and what are those specifics? If you get yourself there again, how will you react?
ADAM SCOTT: Look, absolutely I want to do something different. It's hard to know where to start and where to stop with all of that. But I think it was obviously a new experience for me being kind of in control of a tournament with four to play of a major, and I've been there in normal tournaments. It's a funny one because I've never felt so calm in a situation like that before. Even two weeks previous at AT&T, just finishing that tournament where I was trying to post a number, it was - the adrenalin was pumping and the hands felt like they were shaking and they were sweaty and all that kind of stuff that happens sometimes. But not at Lytham. I felt completely in control and calm, but with that your mind can still go at a million miles an hour and make a quick decision and stuff like that. So I think that was the learning experience for me was - although physically super calm, maybe making too quick a decisions on a couple things. But hopefully it was something to learn from, and I'll be aware of that the next time.
Q. Talking to Greg actually while you were still on the golf course on Sunday, we talked about the fact that he said that you guys have never talked about if you're going to win a major, it's always been when. And then he was talking in a story about when you were down in Australia with Darren Clarke and Darren brought the Claret Jug with him and you wouldn't touch the Claret Jug because you didn't want to touch it until it was actually yours. Can you talk about how you feel about majors now after what happened two weeks ago?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I mean, it's certainly - I've said it the last couple years, I've changed my schedule a lot to try and make myself a contender in majors, and for 10 years I wasn't; that's pretty clear. And the last two years I think my results have improved dramatically. And that's really the reason I'm playing is to win some majors. That's what we're identified by at the end of our careers. How successful you were is how many majors you won. For me, that might have been the proof that I need everyone has always said I'm a guy with potential to win majors or be a great player, but until you've got physical proof that you can do it, maybe you don't 100 percent believe it. And I think the way I look at it was that was the proof that I'm good enough to win major championships. Although I didn't finish like a champion last week, I have in the past at other tournaments, so I know I've got that in me. It's just putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think that might have been the last piece for me.
Q. Could you share with us the most surprising phone call you got, and did you ask the caller how did he get your number?
ADAM SCOTT: I didn't answer those numbers that I didn't recognize. (Laughter.)
Q. One of them was Bothy?
ADAM SCOTT: Bothy did email me, which was very nice. He did want me to mention here this week, I think he misses all you guys. But there wasn't any big surprises. I think just the amount of people that reached out was a nice surprise.
Q. Among those was Ernie. Ernie seemed almost torn in his interviews afterwards, he just felt so bad for you as good as he felt for himself. How did that make you feel, and what was your reaction to that?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I didn't see Ernie's interviews or anything, but I saw him after, obviously, and I felt a little bit bad to be honest because it should have been a time of elation for him, and he had to kind of feel like he had to console me a little bit. I didn't feel really good about that. But obviously Ernie and I are great mates, and it's very hard. If the shoe was on the other foot, it would be really hard to see that because we all know how much it means to each other and how hard we work. Obviously Ernie is a great champion and a four time major champion. He's worked really hard and turned his game around the last couple years to where he wants it again. So I'm really happy for him. He's really the only guy I think who is in the mix who played a great round on Sunday, so a deserved champion in that respect. It was nice of him to, though, think of me and just have a few nice words for me before he went out to the presentation.
Q. I almost hate to bring this up more than Lytham, but last year when Stevie sort of held his own press conference, did he ever apologize for kind of - for overshadowing your win? And do you feel like considering how much he has won here, how much of an advantage do you think he can be?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, we sorted that out the next week, and obviously that wasn't his intention at all, but it seemed like he got a bit mobbed there, and what happened happened. But that was not his intention at all. But here, yeah, absolutely. He's got an incredible knowledge of this golf course because he's seen so much great play here. He said that to me last year, and he also feels he's got a great understanding of the greens here. So yeah, absolutely. I'll lean on him for sure around here this week. Certainly my confidence has built in the last year around this golf course, but still can draw on a lot of his experience here.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how was Kiawah and what are your thoughts on the Ocean Course?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it was interesting, it wasn't quite what I expected, although I didn't - I'd only seen the pictures in magazines, which obviously are quite stunning. Yeah, it's two different nine holes. The front nine is a really nice, playable golf course, and then the back nine is not. (Laughter.)
The back nine is very severe, and it's going to really - it's going to be interesting down there. Look, it rained a lot while I was there the last two days, and it's playing very soft and very long. You know, it's going to be very weather dependent. There's good scores out there in good weather, but if the wind blows, it's just going to be very difficult, even if they move tees forward and stuff like that. Green complexes are very severe on some holes, and there is - it's just extreme penalty for a miss. There's water one side and big waste bunkers the other. It's certainly going to need some ball striking.
Q. You have a very nice, even keel manner about you, but despite that, was there a time after the Open where you screamed or pounded a fist or just let emotion out? Because you don't show a lot of emotion.
ADAM SCOTT: No, like I said before, after the - there have been times I've done that, absolutely. But I think I was just a bit shocked because I was playing so nicely for that to happen. It had never really happened to me before in that position, and I was a bit numb of feeling because of that. I was just a bit shocked. And that may be an odd reaction because I'm certainly one who thinks you should get the anger out if it's inside, but I just never had that.
You know, I think lucky for me, I've just seen all the good things from that Open, and come Thursday it was good to get back on the range and start hitting it, and I hit the first few balls, and I hit them nice like I was, and that was kind of a reminder like, it's not horrible and I don't know how to play golf anymore. It was just four holes that I'll have to learn from and be tougher on myself next time I'm in that position for sure. But no, I never really had that feeling of wanting to break anything.
Q. Steve Williams, what was the by play between you two? Did he regret maybe something down the stretch that he could have helped you with, or how did that go, the conversation with him?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, we left it a few days for each to think about, and then we had a chat in the middle of the week. Obviously we're both disappointed with the outcome. We're both disappointed, I think, in both of our performances because we didn't get the job done. And hindsight is always a great thing, but it's 50/50 because you never really know what would have happened if you did something different.
But no, I think it's part of our relationship out there, growing and getting better. First time for us, really, in that position. Steve has been in that position a bunch with other players but never with me, and I think we're going to hopefully put ourselves in that position a lot more, and we'll know how to handle each other that little bit better maybe. He'll understand me that little bit better because I've told him how I was feeling, and we'll just get it done. I mean, we've got a great relationship out there, and everything went really well for that week. But we just didn't quite match it up on the last few holes. That's what the pressure of those situations can do. It's unfortunate, but I think it's a great chance for us to rectify that next time.
Q. You talked about Stevie seeing a lot of success here. Tiger has played really well here over the years. Is that something you and other golfers are aware of or thinking about when you're playing a tournament is success that another top line golfer has had in the past?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, probably not while you're playing the tournament. It's pretty obvious when we take Firestone, Tiger has won seven - is it seven he's won here? Everyone pretty much knows he won almost every year since 2000. You just know that. And obviously when you're talking of Tiger, it doesn't matter where you go, you think he's a factor starting the week. But certainly it's not something that you're thinking about while you're out playing. Your mind should be on the job yourself. But I guess at times certain guys have success on certain different courses, but probably none more so than Tiger and this one.
Q. A minute ago you mentioned 50/50 and hindsight with Stevie. Can you be specific and tell us what decisions you might have changed or what you guys broke down together?
ADAM SCOTT: Look, I mean, I could go over every shot and want to hit them all again. The shot into 15, I could hit again, the shot into 16, the shot into 17, the tee shot on 18. You could pick them all again. But there's no excuse for me not making a good swing into 17, and we decided to hit 3 wood off 18, but it's so difficult to know whether it's right or wrong because neither of us were confident that 2 iron was going to fly the right bunker, which was right of my target, but still, if it went in there neither of us were confident of that. I could have hit driver off of 18, too. In fact, if I hit 3 wood, I could have hit driver. It's all these things. The fact is you've just got to make a good swing, and I didn't make my best off the 18th tee. But I made good swings on the other holes off the tee and just not such good ones into the green.
And again, that's just part of the process for me. I've got some more work to do. Everything was so great, but any error is just magnified under those circumstances. And certainly to miss it left on 17, that was poor by me. I could miss it so far to the right and still have a really good chance at making 4, but you just can't miss it left.
Q. We started the year with some wild finishes of Kyle Stanley and Snedeker and Mickelson and whatnot, and it seems like it's carried on all year, guys coming from far back to win. Is it just a flukey cycle we're in, or is there something to that, do you think?
ADAM SCOTT: Maybe it's a bit of both probably. I think there's no doubt playing with the lead hasn't been easy for guys this year, and four shots, even six shots seems like not a lot. It can turn so quickly. I don't know, I think even when I walked to the 15th tee maybe Ernie hadn't even birdied 16 at that point, and I think I was five shots in front of Ernie, maybe, because he birdied two of the last three. I don't know. So it's a long way back when Ernie has only got three holes to go, five back. I'm sure you're not expecting to win at that point.
But it's not much. That's how quick it can turn around, especially on major venues where mistakes are magnified and doubles come quickly and so do bogeys. I don't know, it's a bit of a cycle. It's not an easy thing. I think everyone feels the pressure a bit more out there now. Yeah, there's no real way to explain it, only for myself, I've always felt like I've played well with the lead, and I played pretty well for 14 holes at the Open, and I didn't even feel like I played that badly. I hit a couple bad shots, but the tee shots, it's funny because I hit great tee shots coming down the stretch, and it wasn't like I was spraying it into horrible positions. And that's the most disappointing bit for me about it was it was more just a sloppy finish. It wasn't a horrible, my swing is gone, I'm under pressure, and I've hit it so far off line. It was just really sloppy because it was from good positions on the holes.
Q. Tee shot on 17 is about as hard as there is out there?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, 15 and 17, really they were great tee shots, and that was how I drove the ball all week. Like I said, I was calm and confident. Even walking up 17, I had - at that point Ernie made the putt while I was walking to the ball on 17, and I knew what had to happen. It was now 4 4 to win the Open, and that's why I said it back then, still for me the most disappointing shot was the shot into 17.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Adam. Good luck this week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.