17 Feb 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Scott's eyes again on Tiger's prize

by PGA of Australia

Adam Scott with Tiger Woods after his win at the 2020 Genesis Invitational.

By Tony Webeck

The two-year disruption caused by COVID-19 are prime career years that Adam Scott will never get back yet he returns to the Genesis Invitational with the air of a man ready to turn back time.

Scott’s victory at the 2020 edition at Riviera Country Club resulted in a rise to No.6 in the world, was his first start following his 2019 Australian PGA triumph and was a pointer to a second shot at leaving Augusta National Golf Club that April with a green jacket.

In his 32 starts worldwide since Scott has finished inside the top-five only twice but an encouraging start to 2022 in the Middle East and a return to the course he says is his favourite on tour is an indicator that the 41-year-old’s best is not far off.

And the lure of having Tiger Woods present the trophy again on Sunday given what he has been through the past 12 months would represent the completion of a circle that Scott first experienced as a caddie at the 1996 Australian Open at The Australian Golf Club.

Shortly after tournament host Woods reaffirmed his stance that the lasting damage suffered in the car accident following last year’s Genesis Invitational will stop him from ever again playing full-time on the PGA TOUR, Scott shared his first exposure to Tiger-mania and the impact Woods has had throughout his career.

“I missed qualifying and I caddied for my buddy who qualified,” Scott recalled of Woods’ debut Down Under 26 years ago.

“He was a left-hander and we were on the 10th hole teeing off and he blocked it into the 18th fairway and Tiger was coming down the 18th hole.

“I’ve got like a carry bag over the shoulders, I was 15 and just a weed at the time. I had to clear Tiger’s crowd for my buddy to hit a shot up to the 10th green. I was so nervous and I was probably looking at Tiger more than I was looking at a yardage book on my man there.

“Sometimes it’s easy to forget that early Tiger-mania. I don’t know if we’ll see that again.

“I played a lot of golf with Tiger early on. He was so good and he liked messing with me that it dented my confidence, to be honest. It took me a few years to figure that out.

“He’s the ultimate competitor and if I showed signs of looking like I was playing well or was any potential threat, he would try and step on my throat and stop that immediately.

“Having Tiger present you a trophy is something special for my career to remember as well. His involvement in this tournament has taken it up to another level.

“That’s something I’ll also remember. It was a great week for me and means a lot to win here because it’s my favorite course on Tour.”

Describing the past two years as a “frustrating” time in which he has fallen to No.46 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Scott is adamant that changes he has made in his approach and equipment are close to paying off.

He knows that the only way to instill winning confidence is to start winning again and to do so this week would be an ideal way for Scott to recalibrate and begin his ascension back to golf’s elite where he belongs.

“Obviously we all stopped for a while and I’ve certainly found it challenging to get back to that position,” Scott admitted.

“However, things are getting a little easier with the travel demands, I’ve kept myself in good

shape and I’ve avoided any real setbacks.

“I think I’ve put all the different areas of my game in a good spot. Now I just need to get some results.

“It’s early in the season and things have looked good so far. A couple better results would be really good for the confidence and I feel like there’s a big win around the corner if I keep trending in the right direction.

“Hopefully I can lift my game back up there and this is a great week to do it.”

Scott is one of six Aussies playing at Riviera Country Club this week and will play alongside defending champion Max Homa and 2017 winner Dustin Johnson in the opening two rounds.

The cancellation of the Hero Indian Open means the DP World Tour is having the week off this week but there is a strong contingent of Australians at both the Korn Ferry Tour and Champions Tour events.

Round 1 tee times AEDT

PGA TOUR Genesis Invitational The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California 1.40am Danny Lee, Aaron Beverly, Doug Ghim 2.46am*             Cameron Smith, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas 2.57am Matt Jones, Joel Dahmen, Kevin Na 2.57am*             Marc Leishman, Martin Laird, Bubba Watson 7.10am Adam Scott, Max Homa, Dustin Johnson 7.32am Cam Davis, Si Woo Kim, Dylan Frittelli 7.54am Min Woo Lee, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Robert MacIntyre

Defending champion: Max Homa Past Aussie winners: Robert Allenby (2001), Aaron Baddeley (2011), Adam Scott (2005, 2020) Top Aussie prediction: Adam Scott TV schedule: Live 8am-12pm Friday, Saturday; Live 5am-10am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 503.

Korn Ferry Tour LECOM Suncoast Classic Lakewood National GC (Commander Cse), Lakewood Ranch, Florida 11.39pm*           Brett Drewitt, Joshua Creel, Ben Taylor 11.50pm             Curtis Luck, Charlie Saxon, Michael Kim 11.01pm             Rhein Gibson, Zack Fischer, Theo Humphrey

Defending champion: Hayden Buckley (2020) Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Rhein Gibson

Challenge Tour Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open Royal Cape GC, Cape Town, South Africa 7.40pm Daniel Hillier, Bryce Easton, Ross McGowan 8.10pm Blake Windred, Jake Redman, Ruan Korb

Defending champion: JC Ritchie Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Blake Windred

PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Estrella del Mar Open 2022 Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach, Mazatlan, Mexico 2am      Denzel Ieremia, Ryan Cole, Myles Creighton 2.40am Tim Stewart, Agustin Errazuriz, Andy Spencer

Defending champion: Alexandre Rocha Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Tim Stewart

Champions Tour Chubb Classic Tiburon Golf Club (Black Cse), Naples, Florida Australasians in the field: Steven Alker, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Stephen Leaney, Rod Pampling

Defending champion: Steve Stricker Past Aussie winners: Nil Top Aussie prediction: Rod Pampling TV schedule: Live 4am-7am Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 7am-10am Sunday, Monday on Fox Sports 505.

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