03 Oct 2022 | Professional golf |

Scott welcomes challenge from Aussie stars

by Australian Golf Media

Adam Scott, Cameron Smith image
Adam Scott has major challenges from fellow-Australians like Cameron Smith this season. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

When Adam Scott last played on home soil, Cameron Smith was ranked No.53 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Scott’s victory at the Australian PGA Championship in December 2019 signified that he was building towards another major championship tilt, gaining further momentum with a win at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles early in 2020.

But he is yet to win since.

As the now 42-year-old struggled to balance family and professional golf through COVID-19, the rising stars of Australian golf began to make their mark.

Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis won maiden PGA TOUR events and Min Woo Lee put the world on notice with a playoff victory against some of golf’s biggest names at the 2021 Scottish Open.

Scott’s confirmation that he will return for both the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship at Royal Queensland (November 24-27) and ISPS HANDA Australian Open at Victoria and Kingston Heath golf clubs (December 1-4) sets up an enthralling showdown with generation next.

“My time is running out,” conceded Scott, who was the Australian Open champion in 2009 and has Australian PGA victories in 2013 and 2019.

“It seems like I’m the oldest bloke in the field almost every week these days.

“This is the end of what has felt like a long few years. It feels like it’s been a couple of years to get myself back into really good form, which I would say I am in at the moment.

“While I’m playing well, I’ve got to take advantage of that.

“That’s exciting and I have that opportunity to hopefully play well at home and try and get some wins on the board.”

Energised by his 10th Presidents Cup experience and the excitement he draws from the younger players in the International team, Scott has been a keen observer of Australia’s new young talents.

Partnering with Davis in fourball matches on Friday and Saturday at the Presidents Cup gave Scott a first-hand look at a player who already boasts an Australian Open victory in 2017.

“Some of the fun things for me at this point is when I’m in that environment, how excited the guys are to make their first team. That takes me back 20 years,” Scott added.

“Them realising the opportunity that they have that week and Cam really embraced that.

“I was just really impressed with his enthusiasm; his eyes were wide open. He was listening to everything, there was a wealth of experience coming from captains and assistant captains. Messages from previous captains coming in and then for him to be able to step up under the pump on that Saturday afternoon and hit the shots... That was really impressive.

“He took advantage of an opportunity and showed everyone what he’s capable of. Hopefully he can take that and run now.

“The other guys have done great too. Lucas Herbert has won the Irish Open and on the PGA TOUR for the first time, Min Woo obviously winning the Scottish Open was a big deal and those guys are playing fairly solid.

“All three of them are right on the cusp of stepping up and playing great in big events. Surely that has got to be one of their big focuses for next year and beyond.”

But if they have eyes on one of Australia’s showpiece events this summer, they will have to go through Scott first.

He has been a member at Royal Queensland since he was 11 years old and won the 2012 Australian Masters at Kingston Heath, providing a sense of comfort he can’t find anywhere else in the world.

“It’s the best of both worlds for me,” Scott warned.

“Going back to play RQ where I grew up as a kid and then a trip down to the Sandbelt for our national championship.

“It’s a very different Royal Queensland than what I grew up on. I’ve been a member there since I was 11 years old however I don’t really think I’ve got the course knowledge that it sounds like I would.

“To play there after not being home for a few years, hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces in the crowd that week.

“It’s always a treat to go and play the Sandbelt, especially when it’s for your national championship. That’s going to be a great week in Melbourne.

“Playing at home is very exciting but it would be fun to get in the mix and try and win an event again.”

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