15 Sep 2020 | Professional golf |
Scott trends towards US Open title tilt
by Mark Hayes
Looking back at Adam Scott’s US Open career, there are some remarkable numbers.
And as he lines up at Winged Foot this week, there are two increasingly extraordinary ones among them.
The rescheduled major championship will be Scott’s 76th in succession, including, naturally enough, 19 at what is regarded annually by many as the toughest test in professional golf.
Clearly, precious few have that longevity at the highest level.
And of those, far fewer still are getting better with age.
Scott turned 40 in July, but can make a solid case that he’s as good a chance this week as he’s ever been at a US Open.
And one look at his career statistics will support that belief.
In his first decade of US Opens from his inglorious beginning at nearby Bethpage – where he fired rounds of 77-80 – in 2002, the silky-swinging Queenslander managed to miss six cuts.
And while it’s almost folly to compare scoring averages based on varying set-ups, “par” scores, etc, it’s worth noting that his stroke average in that time was 73.86 in 28 rounds.
But after “half time”, it’s safe to say the real Adam Scott has well and truly stood up.
The only time Scott’s consecutive majors streak has been in serious doubt was when he had to qualify for the 2018 edition at another New York course, Shinnecock Hills, where he scored poorly and again missed the cut.
But even accounting for that brief form lapse and consequent rounds of 78-75, Scott has played his second group of 28 rounds at the US Open with a very handsome stroke average of 71.57 (and lower again at 71.19 without that Shinnecock hiccup).
Since 2012, the Queenslander has three top-10s and another pair of top-20 finishes.
But perhaps even more importantly for his chances of adding a second major trophy to his name in addition to the 2013 Masters is that he’s entering this week on the upward trend again – and fresh.
Scott chose to stay at home through the global pandemic, missing effectively five months on tour to return for the PGA Championship in San Francisco last month.
He also has three top-10 finishes in the past six major championships and is one good result away from finishing 2020 in the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time since 2016 having won the Genesis Open in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Numbers rarely lie, so Adam Scott will surely hope all these trends continue this week.
The set-up should favour his accuracy, although with a slope rating this week of 146 and a nominal course rating of 76, all things are relative.
The USGA has enabled the course to play at a maximum of 7477 yards (6837m) and in the unlikely event it is played to that capacity in any given round, it will become the 10th longest US Open set-up in history.
Because of the pandemic, it is the first US Open to be played outside June since 1931. It has previously been played as late as October, but not since 1913 has it been played this late in the year.
Australia will be represented by nine players this week – Scott, Marc Leishman, Jason Day, Cameron Smith, Lucas Herbert, Matt Jones, Scott Hend, Curtis Luck and amateur Lukas Michel, who’s in the field courtesy of his victory at the 2019 US Mid-Amateur Championship.
The latter pair are among 36 first-time US Open contenders.
Australia sits behind only the host nation (69) and England (13) in terms of representation in the 144-strong field, all of whom were exempt into the field because of Covid-19 restrictions on the regular qualifying events.
History of the US Open at Winged Foot...
Par 280, except 1929 when it was 288
2008 +5 Geoff Ogilvy 1984 -4 Fuzzy Zoeller (def Greg Norman in playoff) 1974 +7 Hale Irwin 1959 +2 Billy Casper 1929 +6 Bobby Jones (am)
This week marks the sixth time the club has hosted the US Open, passing Shinnecock Hills as the most prolific host in New York state. It sits behind only Oakmont (9), Baltrusrol (7) and joins Oakland Hills and Pebble Beach across the United States.
How to watch the US Open...
All four rounds will be broadcast live in HD on Kayo Sports and Fox Sports 503. All times listed are AEST.
Friday, September 18 Round 1 – 2-9am
Saturday, September 19 Round 2 – 2-9am
Sunday, September 20 Round 3 – 1-9am
Monday, September 21 Round 4 – 2-8am
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