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July 30, 2014

Adam Scott


THE MODERATOR:  Please welcome past champion of the Bridgestone Invitational, Adam Scott, to the interview room.  Adam, why don't you give us a few comments about the state of your game heading into the final WGC of the season.
ADAM SCOTT:  My game's in good shape, thanks.  It's really come up to a nice level during the summer, and I certainly would like to kind of get the result I'm hoping for this week.  It would be great to do that moving into last week with the last Major close.

Q.  Given as much effort as you put into The Open Championship and trying to win that and win on that style of golf, how hard is it to switch it back to this style so quickly with two big events?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think it's pretty easy to switch back.  It's harder to adjust to the links, but to go back to something we do all the time is pretty easy.
We've got a perfectly presented golf course here; fairways are like carpets and the greens are like glass.  It's going to be a little softer than we'd like, but I think we're going to see pretty good scores out here this week.

Q.  Do you think you might have to play a little more aggressive with the softness?
ADAM SCOTT:  Absolutely.  If you're playing well, you can really throw it right to the hole here.  Playing from the fairway will be key to do that.  Even out of the rough, the rough, long, but it's not unplayable like we've seen it here sometimes in the past.

Q.  What, if anything, did you kind of take out of The Open when you look back on it?  And then secondly, your No.1 spot is kind of up for grabs this week depending on what other guys do.  Do you put any stock in that, or does it sort of not matter?  Or where does it sort of fit into it when you think about it?
ADAM SCOTT:  As far as The Open goes, I played great.  I was very happy with how everything turned out.  Everyone can pick a few shots here and there, but there's no question there was a tougher side of the draw to be on and I was definitely on it.  That made my job very difficult over the weekend.  Coming nine back of a really hot Rory is a tough ask.
And I played great over the weekend as well.  So I made the most of what I could after a tough Thursday and Friday round.
As far as the No.1 thing, I think every week I've played the No.1 has been up for grabs pretty much.  That's just the way it is.  It's all very close.
If I beat everyone, then it's not up for grabs.

Q.  In terms of just holding on to that‑‑ I know you don't focus on it because the results take care of it.  But is there some sense of pride or anything along those lines?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yes, absolutely.  I think anyone who's been in the position is feeling that.  I'm going to push myself to try to play like the best player here this week and get that result and going into next week with that confidence and probably have to do it again next week as well even if I had a great result here.
So like I said, it's been a fun run, and I've really enjoyed being No.1.  I'll just keep trying to hold on to it for as long as I can.  It would be lovely to get to a point where I don't have to hold on to it, and I can have a week where I'm safe.

Q.  Adam, Rickie Fowler was in here earlier and went off on this tangent about how there's a player who shall remain nameless who will go to great lengths not to touch a Major trophy until he's won it.  Where do you stand on that?  Either for reasons of superstition or wanting to earn the right to hold it are you on that spectrum?
ADAM SCOTT:  I definitely understand that, and I think it's a bit of both.  I'm not very superstitious, but I think, if that stuff does exist, then I'd rather not jinx myself.
I think it's something similar to I got invited to go to the Masters before I had qualified to play, and I declined because I felt like the first time I go there, I actually go to play.  I felt like it wasn't far away from that.  I should have my first Masters experience be when I play.
So, yeah, I can definitely see that.  I did break that, I guess, superstition thing when Jeff won the U.S. Open.  I did drink out of the U.S. Open, but I figured that would be all right.

Q.  You've been able to sneak in a practice round at Valhalla recently.  How do you feel the course fits your game?
ADAM SCOTT:  I've never been there, and I haven't managed to get down there.  I really don't know.

Q.  Taking you back to The Open, you mentioned being on the bad side of the draw.  Golfers lose more often than you win, if you will.  How do you get past disappointment when there are those sort of factors involved?  Is it harder?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think sometimes those kind of factors are easy to see, like at The Open and occasionally other events that have really lopsided weather conditions for the draw.
But it's golf.  There are millions of little things just like that that happen every week to everyone, a good bounce here and a bad bounce there, and it's just part of the game, and I can't do much about it.
I just know I played really, really well, and I definitely shouldn't be leaving The Open not full of confidence because I think I played absolutely well enough there to be in with a chance to win.  Unfortunately, the conditions made that harder for me.

Q.  We had a long stretch there of 11 first‑time Major winners, yourself included, obviously.  Now we're getting a spell right now where we're starting to get some repeat winners of Martin, Rory again, Bubba again.  Can you draw any conclusions to what can be gained, having broken through to giving yourself more chances?  If you can't draw any conclusions, can you at least try?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think we're probably in whatever part of the cycle in the game we're in.  Like you said, there are these first‑time winners, a change of the best players in the game and who they are, some new faces, guys winning their first Major and now guys winning their second or third Major, establishing the greatest players of this era of the game now.
That's probably what we're seeing.  And over the next few years, if they don't add more or some other guys win more, we'll see‑‑ we'll be looking back and talking about Bubba and Martin and Rory in the future, much like we spoke of Ernie, Phil, and Tiger and Vijay and Retief, I guess, and Harrington, obviously.  He's won three.
But there weren't that many guys out here with multiple Majors for a while.  I think we're getting to another level of the game now where we're seeing the new era of great players.

Q.  Adam, when you play as well as you did at Hoylake, is that satisfaction enough?  Is that its own reward, or do you feel lesser because you didn't get the final validation of the victory?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think there is satisfaction in playing that well, and looking back on it, I was still annoyed that I didn't play better to win because I felt I did everything right.
Even if you get dealt the wrong draw, that's not an excuse at all.  I could have done better on Friday, I felt, in the wind.  I made a couple of soft bogeys, which can easily happen in the wind, but it's costly, and it might only be two shots, it might not be enough.
But you just never know how the momentum of a couple of shots here and there goes for later in the week.  When you feel like you've played and prepared well enough to win and you execute pretty much how you'd expect and you don't get a result, I'm pretty motivated to get a result here at PGA‑‑ and here as well.  That's part of it.
Of course, I feel like my game is up there to win a Major, and I need to.

Q.  Adam, you spoke about how we're possibly in a new era of great players.  Do you think in five years or ten years, when we look back at this era, we'll be able to identify one player who is the best?  Like we can if we look at Tiger from the late '90s to the early 2000s, or do you think it's a new era where there's going to be more parity among four or five great players?
ADAM SCOTT:  It would really only be a guess.  I don't know.  I don't think we've seen enough yet to really have a good idea.
It would be remarkable if someone is able to dominate and have a clear advantage like you would in the discussion with Tiger.  I'd be surprised, I think.  Of course, it's possible, but I'd be surprised.
I think we're going to see potentially‑‑ and, again, it's just a guess‑‑ it will be a little more parity, but I think you're going to see a very high level of golf going forward.

Q.  Just on what Doug said, this new era, obviously, you want to be the guy they're talking about, I assume, in five years time.  The only player over the last five years to make the cut in every Major.  You've been the most consistent.  Is it now just a matter of winning Majors?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I think.  Being consistent is one thing, but if I have 20 fifth place finishes in Majors in my career and I only win one, I'm going to be pretty disappointed.
There's a point where you've got to‑‑ you know, you're always adjusting and trying to do better, and I think I've made some good adjustments over the past few years to become a consistent contender in big events.  That was my goal, and obviously to win, and I did win one.
But I think there could be a time where I have to look at a few other things to step it up so that I don't find myself playing consistently well but nine shots behind Martin or nine shots behind Rory on Friday.  It makes for almost an impossible weekend.  You're relying on them to do poorly rather than me playing well at that point, and you can't rely on anyone because, if they don't, you've got no chance, like Martin showed.
So always looking at ways I can do better and create more opportunities for myself so that I'm not in that kind of position.  I try and observe what's going on out here so that things I'm doing is relevant.  I'm seeing guys go flat out this year and not make the errors.  You can't rely on that.  I think everyone's getting a lot better and the standard of golf is very high.
I might have to adjust some of my strategy to consistently contend, not just play well.

Q.  Tiger talks about how there's a couple courses like this one where it doesn't necessarily matter how he's playing when he comes in, he just shows up and feels more comfortable.  I'm curious if you have any, if you can relate to that at all, and if so, where those courses might be.
ADAM SCOTT:  I think I felt like that when I was a kid at my home club because it was the only course I played.  When you get to know a course very well, you definitely have those feelings.
That's about the only way.  I can understand why he feels good here.  He's pretty much only won this course every time he's played.
But, yes, there are certainly a couple of courses that you can feel extremely comfortable on, but they set them up so tough, I'm not that comfortable on any of them really out on tour.

Q.  I'm just curious, Adam, when you look at the difficulty of a PGA Championship, how do you balance what probably makes it hard being the strength of field, I think 108 of the top players are there next week, with the fact that it's in August, which typically makes the greens softer because of the heat, which makes it easier for scoring?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think‑‑

Q.  Is that even a question?
ADAM SCOTT:  I was just trying to figure out what do you want me to say?

Q.  In terms of difficulty, how it relates even to the other Majors, how would you weigh it?  One would be the obvious one, which is strength of field, which is why you can get someone like Bob May.  There's 136 players capable of winning.  It's that deep.  On the other hand, just being in August, it's typically going to have softer greens and make for easier scoring.
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, it will be interesting.  Setup plays a big part in it.  Obviously, the PGA field is the strongest, or generally the strongest every year.
But when you go to a course like Oak Hill, last year I don't think you were saying there's 136 guys who can win the tournament.  The setup of the golf course dictates so much.
If it is soft, I think it can favor someone, but it also can help others as well.  A long straight hitter around here this week, because it's soft, you can get a huge advantage of hitting the fairway hitting a much shorter play than a shorter hitter who is getting no run.  That may be the case next week.  I haven't been down there, I don't know.  I don't know what the rough's like.
But basically, you've just got to play well.  That's what it boils down to because, if any of the top 25 guys is really on, their standard of golf is very good.  And then if you go down to however deep you want to go, if anyone plays well, I think, around a course that's softer and scorable, there's that opportunity for them because greens will receive shots from all distances.  You're just going to have to be on your game.
So as far as difficulty goes, in some ways, it's slightly easier because maybe scoring mindset is lower, but purely looking at the strength of field, you might say it's the hardest to win.

Q.  Just to clarify, have you even been to the state of Kentucky?
ADAM SCOTT:  No.  It will be my first trip.

Q.  Congratulations.
ADAM SCOTT:  Thank you.

Q.  Jack Nicklaus said last week that the top golfers at some point reach a fork in the road where you either are chiseling out your legacy or you choose to have a more normal life, that it's very hard to do both.  You've won a Major, you're No.1, and more than anyone, you seem to have found that separation.  How have you done it?
ADAM SCOTT:  The separation of?

Q.  You are able to have this very public career and be very successful and yet maintain a so‑called normalcy to your personal life.
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, it's interesting.  I think I've kind of tried to chisel out my legacy, to use those words, later on.  I found that fork in the road where it got to the point where I'm going to be either just a guy who didn't fulfill his potential and a longtime pro out here or someone that's going to be a good player.  I'm trying to be one of the great players.
I think some years of experience maybe helped the balance of what I need in my professional life and personal life.  I think it's very different, surprisingly to me, than I thought, where things are at.  I felt earlier on that I really needed the balance and escape from golf, and I think I just didn't have it as well organized.
And now I don't.  I just‑‑ I'm so inspired to play and practice all the time and feel like I'm always on the cusp of something really great happening that it's motivating for me to come out.  So it's almost flipped around.
But I don't know how long that will last.  I think you've just got to be true to yourself and do what you want to do.  I think that's how I try and balance things.

Q.  First off, are you planning to play all four playoff events right now?  And then also, as a guy who tends to play a relatively light schedule, do you change anything with your approach going into the stretch of six big events in seven weeks?
ADAM SCOTT:  I plan on playing them all.  I hope I'm in more.
Part of my scheduling, the way I do it is with the anticipation of playing a very heavy end‑of‑season schedule, like we're about to hit.  So I think I'm pretty fresh.  I've not played that much golf for the year, and I've not played that much golf in the last six weeks really.  I've played twice.
So I think I'm pretty fresh, and I should be absolutely fine to push through and play six of the next seven weeks, no problem.
That's my plan.  It's that time of year where you want to be fresh and feeling good.  There's Majors galore and World Golf Championships and a FedExCup to win.  That's when you want to be feeling good and excited to go out to the golf course.  So I think I've made a pretty good scheduling plan for that.  I feel pretty good at the moment.

Q.  I wonder if you could elaborate, when you say you need to win another Major, is that because you define yourself by Major championships, or this is the point in your career where you need to capitalize?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, we are, rightly or wrongly.  I do.  I define‑‑ the first thing I think of when I think of great players is Majors won, and it's just the way golf's gone.
I think rightly so.  I think they're very difficult to win.  Otherwise, everyone would be winning them.  This is‑‑ I've said it a lot.  I feel like this is my time.  I'm playing the best golf of my life.  I want to take advantage of that.  I'd be disappointed if I don't win next week or early into next year.  I think I can keep this window open for a bit longer.
I want to make the most of it because golf's a funny game and it can all turn around quickly.  So I've played a lot of good golf in these Majors.  I want to take home some wins.
It's a strange feeling, not being satisfied with fifth.  It's not a greedy thing.  It's just I expect myself to go and get in contention and have a chance with a couple holes to go.

Q.  Did you watch all the Majors on TV when you weren't playing in them?
ADAM SCOTT:  Did I watch them?

Q.  Or just the Masters.
ADAM SCOTT:  When I was a kid, you mean?  Yeah, I watched most of them, I think.  Often, Greg was contending, so we were glued to the telly.  Yeah, I spent a bit of time watching them.

Q.  What about 2000?  Do you remember watching?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, that was one of the last ones I think I wasn't in.  I think I was in Las Vegas actually still at that point, just out of college, still living in a college apartment watching that one.

Q.  Did you say just out of college?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah.  I just finished.  Early.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Adam.

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