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February 18, 2014

Adam Scott

STEVE ETHUN:  Good morning from Augusta, Georgia and Augusta National Golf Club, pleasure to welcome you to today's teleconference.  We are happy to have Adam Scott our 2013 Masters Champion joining us today.
As everyone I'm sure remembers, Adam did played some pretty incredible golf last April that ended with a dramatic win on the 10th green, the second playoff hole.  He became the first Australian champion of the Masters Tournament, and we're excited to have him back and I know he's excited to come and defend his title.
Adam, you'll be making your 13th appearance at Augusta National this year, which is hard to imagine, but wanted to see if you could just give us a general comment before we begin with the Q&A about how your preparations are going, and kind of your mental state in terms of coming back to Augusta National and defending your title.
ADAM SCOTT:  Okay, well, thanks Steve.  Obviously as I sit here and listen to all that, the excitement builds quickly about returning to Augusta National and the Masters this year, and coming back to defend is going to be an incredible experience like everything has been since last April.
My preparation has been going well.¬† Obviously I've had a little break since the first two events of the year, but I'm back in action next week at The Honda Classic, and that's really when my preparation and lead‑up to Augusta starts to get myself in shape to come and defend.
So still a lot of work to be done, and try and see where I'm at next week at Honda, but I think things are feeling pretty good at home here on the range, but that's a different story than when you're out competing.  So an exciting couple months ahead of me.

Q.¬† Post‑Masters last year, Major winners are always give a chance to do the media blitz and you chose not to, kind of fits your personality.¬† Can you just talk about what you did the next day and the next few weeks after that?
ADAM SCOTT:  I really did nothing the next day, I believe.  I actually did go to New York.  I had already arranged I was going anyway the Monday after.  So I had a meeting the Monday after anyhow, so it was all a whirlwind and I was running on fumes up there for that day.
But I did two media things.  I did Across to Australia, obviously it was received very well down there, and we did that, and I also did the Morning Show in New York with CBS because, you know, I felt as well as it was received in Australia; I also feel like I get a lot of support and encouragement out of playing golfer in America and I wanted to kind of thank everyone for that as well.
So we just did those two.  The rest of the week was really just kind of hanging out and trying to soak it in, even though it was all really unbelievable.

Q.  Could you tell me where you were when you saw for the first time a replay of your reaction on the 72nd hole when you made the birdie and what you thought about yourself watching you do what you did?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I think it was probably‑‑ it was probably on the CBS Morning Show on like one of the monitors when you're sitting on their set there when they we play it to show the viewers when it was coming on or whatever it is.
You know, it's probably slightly out of character, but maybe that was all the years of frustration and everything coming out of not having won a major at that point.  You know, I think at those moments, you see how much it means to anyone competing out there, and that was a big one for me obviously.  You know, can't help but smile when I see that.  It's pretty funny.

Q.¬† I was going to ask you the same thing, but just as a follow‑up to that, did you recognize yourself?
ADAM SCOTT:  (Chuckles).  Yeah, not really.  I mean, I think I probably showed more emotion practicing and preparing than I do than when I'm out there and maybe threw you guys for a loop.
Like I was just saying, I just don't‑‑ you know, they are the moments that you just dream about holing a putt, and for it to actually happen, you kind of get wrapped up in it.¬† It's maybe not the normal character but for a moment like that, I think anyone would be pretty excited.

Q.  Unless I missed this, I apologize, have you talked about what you're going to serve for the dinner, and if you haven't, would you be willing to now?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I'm actually working on that this week.¬† It's all going to kind of‑‑ I've got to put some time into thinking about that.¬† I'd like to serve something that everyone will really enjoy, and nothing too crazy so that they won't.¬† But probably no surprise to anyone, there's definitely going to be an Australian theme toward every part of the dinner, and whether that means they are eating kangaroo, I'm not sure yet, but we'll see.

Q.  Your thoughts, a lot of talk this week about Eisenhower Tree coming down, what your reaction was to that, and understand the club probably won't be coming to you for advice, but what would be your suggestion to replace it?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, yeah, it's obviously an historical tree on the golf course, and these things happen.  Anything that lives will eventually die I guess, and this one maybe early.  And they have done a lot of work to keep it standing a long time.  It's gone and it will be part of Augusta history forever.
But the course has evolved over all these years with natural changes and man made changes.¬† So it all‑‑ it's taken on a lot of different looks over the last ten, 15, 20 years and now we've got another different look, and, you know, whether they replace it or not, it was a pretty tight hole, so from a golfing standpoint, I kind of think seeing a little bit more of the fairway will be a nice thing.

Q.  Just want you to talk about your preparation, as we know, I guess you're two weeks behind your successful preparation into last year's title.  Do you have any worries or any concern that you've changed it a little bit because of what you had to do in Australia, or is there anything that has you worried a little bit that you'll be a little bit behind where you were?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† No, not at all, because I'm taking up Honda to replace one of those events.¬† You know, I don't really‑‑ I don't really see that as being a problem at all.¬† I've played fairly recently in Hawai'i, six weeks, so my break is a little bit shorter actually than I had last year.
But I've been on the course the last three weeks, anyway, playing, and obviously this week is a big week preparation‑wise to get myself to where I want to be to walk out to Honda and try and compete after a bit of a break.
I've thought about it all carefully, and I'm trying to make the best decisions I can so that I'm certainly in the best shape I can, certainly, for defending the Masters, but also to go play The Honda Classic next week.

Q.  Did you get enough of a break?  It was very grinding in Australia and you did end up in Hawai'i and can be fun there as well, but do you feel like you've had enough time off?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yes and no.  It's hard, when you're playing well, and like I was in Australia and even in Hawai'i, you don't really want to take some time off.  You want to keep it rolling.  You see a guy like Jimmy Walker out there who is hot and he's taking advantage of it, and that's what you want to do.
But I'm also keeping the big picture in mind and my priorities are the Masters and the other three majors later this year, and I think the break was necessary, even though I was playing well.
But it's always a balancing act.  The last couple years I've balanced it really well and I think again, I made the decision to go to Hawai'i and play, and hopefully that wasn't the wrong decision and keep me in some kind of competitive shape for when I get to Honda.

Q.  Lastly, last year you obviously smashed the Australian hoodoo at Augusta and it's broken and it's a question that doesn't need to be asked anymore.  Do you think it will release the shackles on yourself and other Australians for the future, feeling that now it's been done and now it's not such a big deal?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, potentially, for sure.¬† Hopefully everyone‑‑ every Aussie that's there will appreciate not being asked whether it will be them this year, and maybe that's crushed a couple of dreams of others that wanted to be the first.
You know, I'd like to think so.  I'll just talk about Jason for the moment who has played in a few of them and he's done extremely well in the few he's played in.  He's obviously got to be thinking he's going to be a Masters Champion one day, and that's probably quite likely if he keeps playing the way he is and on the path he is.
So hopefully the shackles are off and we're going to have a host of Aussies up there in the champions locker room and serving dinners in the future.

Q.  For a guy who has always been a very private person, how have you dealt with the increased attention that comes with being a Masters Champion, and do you like or dislike this attention?
ADAM SCOTT:  No, I mean, look, it's just been received so well, and you know, it's only been really compliments and praise from anyone, any of the extra attention I've got for winning, which has been welcome, I must say.  It's nice to hear nice things, that's for sure.
Certainly attention at tournaments and things like that has increased but that's to be expected.  That goes with the job.  Really there's been no burden on me outside of that, just managing my time at the events has been an adjustment but other than that, it's been very smooth sailing.
So you know, like I said, in kind of the intro of this whole conference, it's been an incredible experience being the Masters Champion for the last 11, 12 months, and it's something I'll be trying to do again, for sure, to have that green jacket hanging in the closet is worth any bit of extra stuff you might have to deal with in your professional world.  

Q.  I just wonder if as the week goes on without Tiger Woods winning a major championship, does he become less of a factor in the minds of yourself and other players when it comes to majors, because they are being, it seems, shared around a lot more just now.  Do you think that there's a link to that?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I don't‑‑ I don't think he's become less of a factor.¬† I think he's still obviously a favorite in everyone's mind, including the players, that he's going to be around the mix.
I just feel like the way it's been shared around a little bit lately, you've seen my generation of player and the Justin Roses who have got to that level where they have put ten or 12 years experience in the bank; they have raised the level of their own game over the last couple years and believe it's their time to do it, and they are not worried about Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or a young guy like Rory McIlroy.  They are just into their own thing.
So I don't necessarily think it's that Tiger is not a factor.  He certainly is a factor.  He's the No. 1 player in the world, and he's always there or thereabouts.  It's he's on a dry spell at the moment and that's what happens in a career.
Jack Nicklaus had a run like that and he's still the greatest player of all time.  It wouldn't surprise me that Tiger comes and wins again this year, but I think there's my generation of player is feeling like their time is now, so they have got to take advantage of it.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about the 72nd hole celebration reaction, I know you've been asked about this, but the photo, you see Marc Leishman in the background sort of celebrating along with you, obviously not quite as buoyantly, but do you recall the first time you saw that photo, and maybe what you thought of another player who you're competing against kind of reacting in that manner.
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I've talked about it a lot I guess over the last year to different people and some of the media.  I did, I got sent the photo either Monday or Tuesday by another caddie who had my number.  He sent a picture through, and just blew me away seeing that picture.
It's an incredible reaction by another competitor.  I mean, I think that just goes to show you how much we all wanted an Aussie to win, no matter who it was.  I think we all wanted it to be Greg, for Marc and I, in our age group; we all pulled for Greg so hard.  And for a guy who has standing in the middle of the 15th fairway with as good a chance to win as me; to stand there on the 18th green and his dreams of winning were kind of gone and someone else is, is an incredible gesture of sportsmanship.
I've talked to Marc about that, and obviously no more needs to be said about what kind of guy Marc Leishman is after seeing a photo like that.

Q.  Do you recall when you did first talk to him about it and what that conversation might have been like?  Obviously he would have been congratulating you that day, but do you remember when that might have been?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, after I got the photo, Marc had even sent me a text in congratulations after the whole thing, and I sent him the photo and a text back just saying that's incredible, he's a legend.  We've talked about it since and we spoke a little bit in public about it in Australia when we were at tournaments down there together.
It's something incredibly cool, and at the time when you're winning, everything's a blur, but to sit back and look at that; I signed him a picture and I wouldn't normally sign him a picture, but I signed him a picture that he'll have with that because I just think it's an incredible gesture.

Q.  I think I asked the same question to Bubba Watson last year.  When you win a major and you win something that you've tried so hard to win, how important was it for you to reset your goals and aim for yet more success?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I think it probably is, it's very important to do that, because you wanted to get that one so badly.  Certainly with your core team around you, you need to do that, as well.
As much as you manage your own golf game, you've got to manage everyone around you, as well, with them knowing where the focus is and that the motivation's high, so that we can all push on.  Because as much as it is just me out there hitting, there's a lot of people that put a lot in to making it all possible.
I think in my mind there was no doubt; although I wanted to get one, I always wanted to win more than one.  But I think it's important that the other people close to me knew that.  So resetting as a group was the important thing, and I think we did that well.
We did that before my next event at THE PLAYERS, had that discussion and got on with it and we tried to kind of ride that Masters momentum throughout the rest of the year and did a pretty good job of it.
Although we didn't get another major last year, to win some other tournaments and have a good run back in Australia was really important to kind of take your confidence in anything that the Masters gave you and become a better player.

Q.  Were those goals very specific?  Are you talking, I want to win X, Y and Z, or are you thinking in terms of improving as a player and winning more and nothing necessarily specific?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, I'd like to win all the majors but it's a process to get to that.  I think you've got to set your sights high and maybe not unrealistic but high, and then it's about working through the process to get there.
So it's very hard to pinpoint specific tournaments, because I'd like to win every time I play, but the only way I can do that is by putting the work in and preparing properly, and if I do that, then the results will come.  And you may focus on the Masters again this year, but you might not win it; you might win another tournament.
So you're constantly just trying to improve and hopefully the results will take care of themselves.

Q.  How would you compare the emotional power of winning that first major with, say, the emotional power of some of those near misses, particularly the British the year before?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, I mean, it couldn't be more different at the time when it's happening.  It's so deflating to have a tough loss, and stand there and accept that as you're putting out on the last green to elation and euphoria as things go your way standing out there putting on the last green; it couldn't be a bigger contrast.
But, you know, I think the interesting thing is, for me, as a competitor and someone who likes to win and desires to win and works hard to try and win tournaments, the feeling and sense of accomplishment doesn't last very long.  You know, it basically goes through that night and you wake up the next day, and that event's over, and everyone's moving on.
And you can kind of bask in the glory yourself for a little bit but as soon as you're back out to play again, everyone's moved on and there's a new trophy to play for.  That's not undermining the sense of achievement of winning the Masters and the history of the event or any other major championship or any other tournament, but it's just kind of how it works, because 150 other guys didn't win and they are moving onto try and win the next week.
So you can't‑‑ you can't rest on your laurels and I think that's the interesting thing about it was that it probably lasted longer than any other tournament, but it doesn't last as long as you think considering it's something that you've kind of worked your whole life towards.

Q.  We've talked about the putt obviously on the 772nd hole.  The drama after that, what was the key for you maintaining a calm and focus going through the playoff?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Look, I think some experience played a key in that.¬† Certainly over the past couple of years of seeing up‑and‑downs in majors and being in contention, and 2011, feeling like I did enough to get me over the line at the Masters and Charl Schwartzel had an incredible finish to kind of letting one slip at The Open and being there or thereabouts in some other ones; and knowing that momentum can change, one shot can change things so quickly.
So I think sitting there finished and watching Cabrera hit it close, and obviously going to make that putt, you know, just knowing it's never over till it's over.  And then knowing that I want to go out for a playoff, you just want that.  If you've practiced enough and you've done enough work, then you want that and that's the only way you're going to win.
You can't expect it to be handed to you, so you've got to really deep in your gut want that to happen.  And I think that's how I managed to kind of keep everything together, and I had that experience up my sleeve and for whatever reason I was thinking the right thoughts in that 30 minutes in between my shots.

Q.  You've spent so much of your career being labeled the new Greg Norman and having to follow in his footsteps; do you now feel that your victory last year and the reception you received when you went back to play in Australia makes you feel that you're finally the new Adam Scott?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, I certainly think in some ways, yes, it's only ever been a compliment that people may have been expecting me to achieve some of the things that Greg Norman did, and he was greatest player in the world for a long time and achieved a lot.  So that's only complimentary.
But certainly I think after winning the Masters and going home, I might have taken on my own identity a little more and being known for Adam Scott rather than the guy who could be like Greg Norman.

Q.  Can you talk about what that reception felt like when you got to Australia and how much of a surprise it was?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think I was a little surprised, because I think for the six months or so since, I had moved on and got on with things and the Tour had just rolled on.  But down there, it hadn't.  It was just starting again.
So they were all getting revved up, and I think I was completely overwhelmed with the response to all the golf tournaments I played down there, the turnout, the crowds, the support, was just so pleasing to see how well it was all received.¬† And for me to see golf in Australia a little bit like it was when I was a kid, having top players like Norman, Grady and Baker‑Finch kind of leading the way as major championships, and me aspiring to that, it kind of had that feel.
Although I'm looking from inside the ropes this time, and that's nice to see, because Australian golf is stuck a little between a rock and hard place a little bit with the professional tournaments down there.  They struggle to keep going every year, so to see a real boost was nice, and hopefully that kind of trend continues for the next few years. 

Q.  You've spoken a couple times about all the great experiences over the last ten months.  Is there one memory in particular that you're going to cherish beyond the next few years?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think there's a lot of them.  I mean, waking up Monday morning, having green jacket just by the bed or the closet or something, is a year that you'll never forget.  I think it's quite incredible.  I mean, seeing people's reactions to seeing the green jacket in your house has been a lot of fun for me.
I think probably being able to share the experience of winning with my dad overall was the biggest thing, his whole life has been golf, and it was incredible he was there, but also to share some time at home at length and talk about it.  I think they are the nice things.  The other stuff, all the glitz and some of that, is fun I guess, but the stuff that really is meaningful is something like that, because my mom and dad gave up so much for me to pursue golf.  It's been a nice way to kind of repay them in some way.

Q.  How often have you tried that green jacket on in front of the mirror?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, when I get to Augusta, it will be about 365 times I reckon.

Q.  Curious how you view No. 10, the hole that the Augusta, where you obviously made the winning putt, what do you think of that hole strategically, aesthetically and I imagine it has a lot of personal significance for you given that's where you won your first major.  When you go back for the first time, what will that be like do you think?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, absolutely love the 10th hole now.  It's obviously a very tough way to start the back nine, and you can come unstuck easily down there.  But interestingly, the tournament's been won the last two years, so I mean, it's a significant hole in Masters history, really.
But like everything, it's full of drama.  That place, Augusta National, is just full of drama and it has some way of producing incredible outcomes all the time, whether it's on the 18th hole, the 15th hole or the 10th hole.  It really is just a masterpiece for this tournament, that golf course.
I think going back there will be a really nice experience.  Just generally going back to the club will be a great experience for the first time since winning.  I'm sure every time I play the 10th, I won't be able to help but think back to late that Sunday afternoon.

Q.  And one last unrelated question, you talk a lot about how things have been different these past ten months.  Did winning the Masters and finally winning your first major, did that change your view of yourself as a golfer at all?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Maybe not as much as I thought.¬† I think obviously it is proof that you can win a major, because you did.¬† But I really felt like before that week ‑‑ and maybe that's why I did end up winning; that belief I was good enough to do that, and maybe that's why I ended up winning.
If you ask my coach, Brad, he'll say something like, he saw it in the months leading up, there was no way I wasn't going to win that Masters.  Not that we did anything different or put any extra emphasis on the Masters than we did any other year, but that's the feeling he had.
So maybe the belief was already there and then it was just the proof, and that's that little extra assurance as you try to take your game to the next level beyond that.

Q.  I was wondering, have you given any thought as to how the reaction you got when you went to Australia this year was different because you went with a green jacket than it might have been if you had gone say the year before with a Claret Jug instead?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, look, I think‑‑ yeah, that's interesting, I haven't given it much thought.¬† I think there would have been a different reaction.¬† Certainly the whole stigma of an Australian not winning the Masters stood out, not necessarily‑‑ obviously with the golfing community in Australia, but it was well publicized to the rest of the community, as well.¬† We are a pretty proud sporting nation and we feel like we have achieved a lot in all the sports we participate in.
Cadel Evans the year before won the Tour de France, and basically we felt like that left the Masters as the notch in the belt that Australian sports didn't have.  I think the hype and excitement about the green jacket finally coming down to Australia for the first time certainly was a big deal, and it made a difference in the response to returning that.

Q.  And you've talked about that how special it will be when you finally get to go back to Augusta.  Have you made any plans to go there beforehand and maybe take someone with you and try to take it all in, and what do you hope to do on a scouting trip to get out of the way before you go back for Masters week?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I will definitely go up earlier.  Exactly when that is, I'm not sure.  It's going to be sometime after Bay Hill and before the Masters.  I'll try and do what I did in the years previous.  I think it would be fun to go up with someone and kind of take it all in, but also I've got to focus and take it all in in the right way, as well.
But it's going to be hard.  I'll probably need two days; I need a day to get my head right and get over the sentimental stuff, and then a day of work.  But it's something that I'm looking forward to so much, it's an exciting time of year as a golfer, and for me this year, heading towards April is a real buzz and going to be something I'm really looking forward to.

Q.  Any chance your father might get to make that trip with you beforehand?
ADAM SCOTT:  Hopefully, yeah, he's going to come over before.  He's never played, so love to have him play and hopefully we can get that in before Masters week.

Q.  You mentioned you haven't been playing competitively.  I was just wondering where you are right now, what you're up to this week and kind of what you've been doing since Hawai'i.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, pretty much I've been here home base in the Bahamas and I've been up to not a lot.¬† I've really tried to do not too much and take a little off‑time and enjoy myself.¬† In the last three weeksI've been working on the game; and the last two weeks with my coach, Brad, he's here.¬† So we're tuning up for Honda.
Yeah, I haven't been competitive but I've certainly been working on all areas of the game.¬† Like where it's going.¬† It's not the first time I've taken a six‑week break at the start of the year.¬† I mean, last year, I think I took 11 weeks off between events.¬† So I don't think‑‑ I'm hoping, anyway, that there's not going to be too much rust next week at Honda.

Q.  When you won THE PLAYERS relatively early in your career, naturally probably thinking that the next step would be a major.  I'm wondering, what was the most important thing left to learn after winning the fifth major?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I mean, it's interesting, because I felt that was a huge opportunity for me to take the next step.  But I just don't think I knew what it took to do that, and the level of commitment and the work ethic and everything.
I think back then, I certainly just relied too much on talent and kind of threw the balls up in the air in the hope that I was going to have a good week at the Masters and a good week at the U.S. Open and The Open the PGA, and it was kind of luck of the draw whether that showed up, and it never did.  It did at THE PLAYERS that week, but it didn't at the other ones.
Whereas I think now, I kind of understood that I can control that a little bit more and make it show up for those weeks, or at least make a good level of‑‑ a good standard of golf shot for those weeks consistently.¬† I think that's part of the learning curve and that's, well, part of my learning curve, anyway.¬† So I think that was the difference.¬† The talent was there, but the right preparation and structure may not have been for me at that time to take that next step beyond the players and go and be a consistent performer in the majors at a young age.

Q.  When do you think you came to that understanding of what it would take?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think after the frustration at the end of 2010, the frustration levels of again, not really achieving what I wanted in the big events, and that was it.  It was a sit down and rethink everything about how I go about golf and life and everything, and made a lot of changes, not all at once, but made some big changes and changed the way I prepared and scheduled and started doing things to suit me, what I felt was right and less about what other people think is right, and you know, it's kind of accumulated into me performing better.
So I've got a pretty good recipe at the moment and I'm trying to always improve but I've got a pretty solid base.
STEVE ETHUN:  Well, everyone, that concludes our call for this morning.  Adam, I do want to thank you for your time and good luck in the final represent penetrations for the Masters Tournament and we're excited to see you here in April.

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