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February 28, 2016

Adam Scott

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Adam Scott into the interview room, our 2016 Honda Classic Champion.

Adam, what a show you and Sergio put on, I know a mental test out there for you. Just comment on how relieved it was to make that last putt on the last hole.

ADAM SCOTT: It was nice that it was just two feet, that's for sure. Yeah, that was certainly a sense of relief to win again, after being a year and a half I guess without a win. I think it's just getting tougher and tougher to win out here.

That was a great win today. It's a very tough track. I think I made it look a little easier than it was for most of the part yesterday, and just did a good job of re-setting my expectations for today and not thinking I had to be 7-under through 15 to win today. Would have been nice, but it was just a tough day out there. It's a tough course. It's a tough finish.

I felt a lot of putts didn't go in today that could have, and had a few yardages that were in-between clubs and that just makes it hard to hit it near the pins when there's so much trouble because it's hard to recover from water around here. So there was a sense of relief but overall I'm thrilled with where my game's at, and to get a victory is even more satisfying to just reassure me that I'm working on all the right things, going in the right direction this time of year.

Q. You talked about a sense of relief of winning, but with all the conversation about anchoring, how much of a relief it is to get that out of the way, just the third start after the rule and a few months after you made the permanent switch?
ADAM SCOTT: Probably good for everybody who likes talking about it, absolutely (laughter) and therefore, good for me; therefore, good for me because maybe we don't have to go over it too much anymore.

Again, it just reassures me, I'm on the right track with the things I'm doing on the greens obviously and I'm just going to try and get better every week. And I think it's in a great spot at the moment. If I can get better and better, then I like what's to come.

Q. Just curious after the bogey at 16, what's it like to stand up there on 17 tee and can you block out some of the nonsense that's being said?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think the bogey didn't really affect me too much because fortunately for me, Sergio also bogeyed 16. We both made errors there.

So going to 17, you just know what to expect going to that tee. On a Sunday afternoon or a Friday afternoon or a Saturday afternoon, it's the same every time. There are a lot of people having a good time there and I'm happy for them (laughter).

But it was a good time to hit another really good shot, like I did yesterday. That's kind of what I was drawing on, my good shot yesterday, how many good shots I've hit this week. You absolutely have to block out all the nonsense, like you said, Jim, or whatever it's called and get on with it. That was my time; after Sergio missed it left, if I hit the green, he was under a lot of pressure. That was a really good shot.

Q. What did you hit?
ADAM SCOTT: I hit a 7-iron as hard as I could.

Q. At 15, you stepped away from the shot, and what was going through your mind? And granted, yesterday was a one-off, but how much is that even -- how hard is that just to forget about it when you step up there today?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, yeah, it's difficult. I'd be lying if I said I just didn't even think about yesterday but the tee went forward today and that was helpful because it wane even close to the same kind of shot. But they put the pin near the water, and you have to make a decision, are you going to hit a club that's going to be ten or 12 yards long of the pin and leave yourself 45 feet; or, are you going to hit it left and be kind of pin-high.

It's a very tough shot to be cute with, and try and hit it a little soft cut under that that kind of pressure. Just as I stepped over it, the wind picked up too much for my liking with the 8, and last thing I needed to do was balloon it into the water again. I backed off and it dropped down straightaway, so I quickly went back in and hit while I felt it down, and I hit a pretty good shot.

Q. We touched on this briefly, but you've won a bunch of tournaments early on in the new season. What does that do for your confidence, and also the fact that you've got two WGCs and Augusta within a six-week period now?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's a huge stretch of golf coming up. Seems like this year, there are two six-week stretches or so that is just jam-packed with all the biggest tournaments in the world. It's amazing. Hopefully I haven't peaked too early (laughs).

I think the difference, Bernie, might be that I might be able to use -- I know how to use the confidence of a win early in the season better now with my experience, I guess (smiling) and hopefully know what to do the next couple days to keep my game in good shape, so I tee off Thursday feeling just how I felt this week and then keep that going through to the next WGC and on into the Masters.

Q. Going back to the first hole, how important was that putt, just for the mental confidence?
ADAM SCOTT: I think it's just a calming thing, to go out and birdie the first hole of the day is a huge, calming factor. To see a putt go in is all you want to see early in the round, especially Sunday, when you're leading. You just want to know that the hole's there and it's possible to make one. That was a nice putt there, and I got a good read off Sergio, because he had charged it by. I knew it was quick and I just dropped it in the front, and that set me up for a really nice start.

It's all important, but it was good to get off to a good start and just kind of set the pace. One of us needed to, to just keep everyone else out of it, and it kind of stayed that way most of the day. I know it was kind of close on the back. But the start is important, absolutely.

Q. And you mentioned that the year and a half without the victory, during that time, and relief; during that time, there was obviously a lot of young players winning at that point. You being the old man, I guess that you are now, maybe sense of urgency is too strong a way to put it, but do you feel sort of a little pressure on yourself, whatever, to kind of end that stretch over that period?
ADAM SCOTT: A little bit. Look, you know, I said I was desperate for the win yesterday and I was, because I was in this position. You know, if I was sitting 36th yesterday, you're not even talking about it.

Getting back in the position was good, and I really wanted to win a lot, and also, I want to feel somewhat relevant still out here when it comes to being one of the best players in the world. That's just down to my results. There's no other way you can talk it in your head and try and build yourself up as much as you want, but at some point, you're going to have to have the results to actually prove it and achieve.

Last week and this week's a great test of golf, and I like where things are at, and hopefully it's a move in the right direction to be in that kind of Top-10 players in the world.

Q. I was curious, when did you come up with the grip that you used on your putter, the way you hold it, this tournament, and had you ever tried anything like that before you had switched to the long putter?
ADAM SCOTT: I can't take the credit for this grip. Actually Brett Rumford, an Australian pro who plays in Europe showed me the grip, and felt good. So thank you, Brett.

And I tried it when I putted with the short putter at Doral last year, and I putted quite nicely, generally, for the few weeks I tried putting with the short putter last year. It just felt right. Again, it's not exactly the same as the grip with the long putter, but it's very similar I guess in philosophy. Keeps all my ankles and technical things in good order, so feels really comfortable. Just feels normal to me now.

Q. You've referenced this a couple of times now about how hard it is to win these days. Last summer, when you were struggling a little bit, or maybe not at your best, you saw Jason and Jordan doing what they were doing. Did you at any point feel a little bit like getting left behind, and is it tough when you see them play that well, and you're maybe not at your best?
ADAM SCOTT: Probably, if it dragged on a bit longer. You can't be too reactive to things. I think everyone is guilty at some point of being pretty reactive to whatever happens, and time does pass quickly, but you know, if I came out at the back end of last year with the short putter and just had very mediocre results and no confidence and started really poorly this year, no confidence, I'd feel like I'm a long way behind that standard that was set.

But it's amazing in a couple weeks how quickly things turn around. I've played really well the last couple of weeks, and a couple of those guys who were so outstanding last summer haven't played that great in the last couple of weeks. You know, you feel like the gap is really not that big at all. So you've got to keep some things in perspective and not get panicky. But I know my window is much smaller than Jordan, Rory, Rickie, Jason and a whole list of other good, young players. So I can't afford to sit back and just wait for it to happen. I've got to keep working on making it happen.

Q. You've referred to the word desperate yesterday and you just talked a little about that now. Can you put into words the tangible feeling how a Sunday round when you have a 54-hole lead, or a share of it in this case today, how your body and mind feels differently, as opposed to a Friday afternoon or something like that? Probably there were moments today when you were -- it looked like Sergio was tight a couple times.
ADAM SCOTT: I think being shared for the lead is probably better than one in front in all honesty. I slept a lot more comfortably last night than being just one in front. It's not a nice spot, because you're leading and you're expected to win, but one shot over 18 holes around a golf course like this, or any one that we play on the PGA TOUR, for that matter, is nothing. And there's no level of comfort being one level in front.

I think we see more and more guys struggle to close with the lead. Because it's tough, and a guy with three back has no pressure. The difference between a birdie and a bogey a couple of times in a round is two shots, and that adds up to four on the card and there you go, there's your three-shot lead gone.

So I felt quite comfortable that Sergio and I were in front by a few, but co-leading, rather than probably being out in front. I think it's harder when you are actually out in front to kind of get your expectations -- it's harder to think about losing when you're leading, is what I'm trying to say.

Q. If I can follow that quickly. Sergio talked yesterday about scar tissue, and obviously he's had some disappointments. Is there any part of you, that since you both came into this day in the same spot, that you feel for him, because you guys are friendly?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, the longer you play, the more stuff happens like that. I look back at my first ten wins in my career overall around the world and I probably led every 54 holes. I didn't come-from-behind and win for a long, long time.

And yeah, I can think of a couple that I've let slip. I think Bay Hill might have been the last one. Yeah, they are not nice feelings.

I've also got a lot of good experience to draw on, and generally, that's what I try and do with everything in my game.

Q. Was the prevailing emotion today on 18 joy or relief? And secondly, with the one swing yesterday that led to the quad, I think it swept away what a great round that was. How good was that round, and how much confidence did that give you going into today?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it was a phenomenal round of golf. If I made three there and I shot 62 or something, it would be one of the best rounds I've ever played. But I didn't and that's the game. It's a shame but I'll try again another time.

Today, it did, it felt like a battle. It wasn't elation. At the end there was definitely a sense of relief and just satisfaction, and quite happy that that was over and I managed to hang on. It could have gone any way. You know, playing the last hole like that was mentally challenging for me to lay up when I could have got to the green, and hit a wedge in and then have to watch Sergio make a birdie just to make me make a 2-footer. Not that that's the biggest deal, but it's so close.

It's a hard-fought win, and I think that's really, unless you're eight in front, it's so tough around this track.

Q. What would that have been if you had gone for it? What would you have had to hit?
ADAM SCOTT: To the front left, it would have been a 2-iron, so that's a little risky.

Q. What did you want to have settled by the time you went to the Masters, and how does this help?
ADAM SCOTT: Obviously you want to go to the Masters feeling your game is in good shape. Results, you say results don't matter until you get them, and they do. You have to tell yourself that. You've got to put the result away.

But certainly last week and this week, the quality of the golf course, the quality of the field, I think was a really good test and reflection for me, where my game's at.

To get a win is definitely confidence; to come and win down the stretch at a course like this, definitely has that major kind of feel where big questions are asked of your shots and there's trouble at every point if you hit a bad one, and that's very much like a major.

The key for me now is managing myself through this next run of big events and up to the Masters. Hopefully I can do that well.

Q. You talked about tuning out the noise on 17 today. In the same vein, either in the off-season last year, maybe all year, did you have to tune out a lot of unsolicited putting advice, whether it was strokes or putters or grips, just because people knew the ban was coming up? And if so, was there one really crazy one that just blew your socks off?
ADAM SCOTT: I was pretty set with what I was doing, so I wasn't searching, and some of the advice was fielded by everybody around me, coaches, caddies and management. But there was a gentleman from Canada who was very persistent, and sending me audio tapes with his secrets. My dad's enjoyed listening to them. Hopefully it's helped him, I hope. But I'd like to thank him for all his time in sending me his audio tapes.

I think generally everyone is trying to help and genuine. But I've kind of said it the whole time; I don't think it's going to be that big a deal for me. It's some hard work and I'm not afraid of that. I'm glad it's going in the right direction, and I've putted pretty solid the last couple weeks, and I want to make sure that keeps going.

Q. Just curious on the details of that bunker shot on 12.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, that was 150 hole. It was just straight left-to-right wind, so it was a really good yardage for my 9-iron. I could just aim it 20 feet left and hit it, and the wind did its job. It was a great time to hit a good one shot because I had bogeyed 9 and 10, and felt I needed to make a bit of a statement, like I was pretty happy to move ahead with this and make some birdies, hopefully. But it was great to knock it so close. It was a gimmie, really.

Q. Is it more difficult now to win a PGA TOUR event than in your earlier days, and why?
ADAM SCOTT: It might be. I think generally, the standard of play through the field is higher now. I think there are a long every list of guys teeing it up each week who on their week can win a tournament.

So probably I think it is tougher generally to win a PGA TOUR event. Course setup I think is a little bit tougher generally, as well; and therefore, you see some collapses, and it's just harder to get it in the clubhouse when the pressure is on and it means so much. Everything's stepped up a level in this game over the last ten years and 20 years, yeah, I think so.

Q. A quick golfy thing. What club did you hit on 11?
ADAM SCOTT: Into the green? An 8-iron.

Q. And secondly, as well as you swing the golf club, why did you lay back so far on 14?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I would have liked that 2-iron to go a little bit further. It wasn't my best strike off the tee. It just stayed very straight. I was trying to turn it harder.

My 3-wood is a strong club and it was downwind, and I had 300 run-out. I felt I could hit it through the fairway and I didn't -- it's narrow and I didn't want to hit it through the fairway. I only had an 8-iron to the green. It was just an in-between yardage there for me, unfortunately. I had to be spot on online to hit the hill and go in. I couldn't aim over at the flag.

Q. You said that you don't have as much time to win as the younger stars and that you're working actually harder. Has your practice routine changed at all, and what are you doing at this stage, perhaps that you didn't do, say, ten years ago?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think I definitely work smarter than I did ten years ago. To be honest, I probably do work harder than I did ten years ago. I think one of the reasons why I didn't succeed at the biggest events ten years ago was I didn't work smart enough or hard enough.

There was a guy who was doing it smarter and better than everyone, by far, at that point.

I think if I want to achieve what I want out of this game, I have that kind of smaller window. And I know once I get to 40 years old, it's just the facts, it's going to get harder and harder for me, because there's some 17-year-old right now who will be 22 out here killing it and I'm going to be 40 and it's going to be hard for me to keep pace.

Q. Do you think Peter will send back the putter now?
ADAM SCOTT: No, no, he's put that in a good spot, I'm sure. Hopefully the museum.

Q. Curious when obviously Sergio was struggling today, he wasn't hitting it as good, he had a lot of up-and-downs to keep it close. Did that run through your mind at all, like if I can just keep steady, I've got this?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. I kind of had my chances early. I thought I was really solid early, and I only made two of them. A lot of my other ones just went over the edge. I thought I had a good chance on 8 for another one but then I made a mistake on 9 and couldn't get it up-and-down, and 10.

And all of a sudden, it's very close. But credit to Sergio. Yeah, he didn't hit it his best, but he holed a lot of good putts to stay in it. Short game was good today. Some days are like that, especially around here. It's hard to just say you're going to go out and hit 12 fairways and 14 greens around here on a Sunday.

So we both were doing absolutely the best we could and I think we played fairly good rounds of golf, relative to the situation.

JOHN BUSH: All right, Mr. Scott, congratulations once again.

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