05 Nov 2020 | Professional golf |

Post-Covid, Scott says he's ready to go

by Martin Blake

Adam Scott presser image Houston
Adam Scott is over Covid-19 and getting ready for the Masters. Photo: Getty

Adam Scott says his bout with Covid-19 a few weeks out from the Masters was “not ideal”, but at the same time pronounced himself healthy and ready to resume playing at the Houston Open in Texas this week.

The 40-year-old Scott, still Australia’s top-ranked male player at No. 15, gets a week to fine tune his game again at Memorial Park before heading to Augusta National, where he won the green jacket in 2013.

Scott tested positive at the Zozo Championship in California last month – where he was forced to withdraw, interrupting his Masters preparation -- and has spent the mandatory 10-day period quarantining in a Los Angeles hotel, practising his putting on a matt, then at a house.

“I think fortunately for me, the symptoms weren't too bad and I was really only feeling below par for a day or so and then started feeling a lot better,” Scott told a media conference in Houston today. “I think I was lucky in that sense.

“Obviously my golf preparations have taken a bit of a setback the last few weeks. Having not played since the US Open, I was trying to get some golf in at Zozo and here before the Masters, not only not getting Zozo in, not getting any practice in for those 10 days either is a little setback, but I've actually come out swinging good this week and at least feel fresh. Hopefully that works in my favor.”

Scott is one of a cluster of top professional players to have contracted Covid including Dustin Johnson, who also resumes playing this week. He said he was utterly surprised by the test result.

“I had no symptoms at the time I tested positive, but I developed some symptoms about 12 hours after I tested positive and I had a slight fever for 24 hours and a headache and then that kind of passed. Then I continued to get better.

“Yeah, I had to isolate. I was in the hotel there in LA for six days. Once I was sure I was healthy and not kind of just feeling okay, I investigated finding a house by myself for the next four or five days to isolate just so I could go outside and get some fresh air. So I drove myself to a house. And again, didn't have any contact with anyone until my 10 days of isolation was up.’’

He doesn’t know where or how he picked up the virus. Fortunately, none of his family or inner circle were impacted, and Scott said the tour had produced a “remarkable effort” to keep tournaments running given the spread of the virus around the world.

Quickly his thoughts have turned to the Masters, where he became the first Australian to win seven years ago. That makes Houston all the more crucial. “This is an important week for me,” he said. “There's a lot to take out of it. I've made some adjustments in my bag with Augusta in mind and a new Titleist driver and a new Titleist ball this week thinking also ahead, which is actually looking really good for this golf course, too. It's incredibly long, so hopefully that little bit of gain off the tee will be helpful here.

“But again, I think a lot of guys thinking about that next week, potentially cool weather, a little less daylight and a very big, long golf course. I haven't been up there because my plans changed obviously, and I was not free to move around. Yeah, I'm in for a surprise next week when I get there, but I have no doubt that it will present incredibly well as they always do at Augusta National. It's going to be a great event.”

Augusta will be without its usual appreciate crowds this year for the first time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Scott knows it will feel quite different. He said he had “strong memories” of the patrons and their backing of him when he pipped Angel Cabrera in that famous 2013 playoff.

“You know, the patrons there at Augusta, it became like a bit of a hardcore sports fan feeling and it was such a great atmosphere, especially in the playoff with myself and Cabrera. Everyone was out there wet, but it didn't matter, they were at the Masters and watching some good golf. I certainly got a strong memory from that.

“So there will be something missing, for sure. Having played two major championships now without galleries, there's no doubt there's something missing out there. I guess whoever the champion will be next week will miss one part of a special week for them in not having that experience of the atmosphere that you would normally have.”

Now into his 40s Scott is not part of the younger generation in the game anymore, and he says he’s impressed with what the likes of US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau have done. Against that, he said he wanted the golf ball rolled back, just as Tiger Woods has said needs to be done.

“I kind of agree with Tiger. I mean, that should have probably been addressed long ago and it hasn't. I don't want to see us be the only sport going backwards. That's kind of my feeling. I don't think we -- nothing in this world is really going backwards.”

Scott also commented for the first time on the cancellation of the big Australian events this summer because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. "It's disappointing, but it's sensible," he said.

The Houston Open is live on Foxtel and Kayo Sports from Friday morning, AEST.

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