21 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |
Scott channelling Els at Presidents Cup
by Dane Heverin
Heading into his tenth appearance for the International Team at the Presidents Cup, Adam Scott is ready to put his teammates on his back and say ‘come with me’ at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina this week.
The International Team have infamously only defeated the Americans once - at Royal Melbourne in 1998 - and the 2013 Masters champion has a burning desire to finally taste glory against the red, white and blue.
“I think the best thing I can do this week is lead by winning points,” Scott said.
“I remember when I played with Ernie (Els) as a rookie, he had it so under control on the course. He knew what he was doing out there. He had the experience, and he was one of the best players in the world.
“I feel like I’d like to be that guy this week for anybody I play with.”
Scott made his debut in South Africa in 2003 where the Cup was shared - after three tied playoff holes between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els it was agreed by the captains and players that the contest would end in a tie - and added valuable points playing alongside Els.
They secured one-up wins over both Justin Leonard and Jim Fuyrk, and Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, and the 42-year-old is eager to see his current teammates achieve their dreams like he did at a similar age.
“I think I’m leaning into the younger guys because of their enthusiasm and everything,” Scott said.
“I think it’s good for an old dog like me to see that. I remember when I pegged it up in South Africa, I was a bit of a deer in the headlights. Just went out and played golf and I didn’t know any better, and I kind of got carried a little bit by Ernie, and some exciting stuff happened at the end.
“It was just like I had dreamed of doing as a kid, getting on this team and winning a point. That’s kind of how I feel these guys should be this week.”
Much has been made of the notable absences from the International Team, and Scott was even asked at his press conference on Tuesday how a drought-breaking victory would compare to historic sporting upsets like Australia II winning the 1983 America's Cup.
He was not buying into that narrative however. Instead, Scott claimed that the Internationals - which includes fellow Australian Cameron Davis - are “coming here better prepared than ever” and no one should be sleeping on them.
“This group of guys on our team are elite level golfers, and actually this format should be easier for us to get a win over 18 holes,” Scott said.
“It’s not 72 holes against a better team. There’s less holes for us to get on top of these top players. It’s a little bit of a sprint.
“The biggest thing that (captain) Trevor (Immelman) and anybody in our team can do is help our guys get to the first tee ready to tee off and hit a couple good shots and get up early and go from there. It is a sprint and they are elite golfers.
“They’re not slouchers. I was really impressed playing here with them casually a few weeks ago.
“The talent level is there, and something like this, if one of them finds that belief out there, hits the shot at the right time or holes a putt at a right time, it really could kick start them this week, and also, you could see big things from them in the future, too.
“I reference Scottie Scheffler for that who had a great Ryder Cup last year, and look what he went on to last year, and I think it may be a connection to these events for that individual performance later.”
Scott himself won THE PLAYERS Championship only five months after his Presidents Cup debut, and calling on positive memories in pressure situations is going to be vital this week.
“Looking back at Melbourne, although that was one that stung for sure, I thought so much changed, the direction of this team changed there, and I think that’s carried over,” he said.
“Trevor has embraced that a lot and done an incredible job. I think we’re going to see that continue no matter what the result.
“I still remain incredibly optimistic that we have a shot this week.”
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