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April 5, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is always a great pleasure to have our 2013 Masters Champion, Adam Scott, join us here in the interview room, and this mark Adam's 15th appearance here at Augusta.
Mr. Scott etched his name in Masters Tournament history three years ago, becoming the first Australian to claim the coveted green jacket. Fellow Australians finished third and fourth that year, also.
You are indeed off to an extraordinary year this year with wins at the WGC Cadillac and the Honda. Currently you are No. 1 in the FedExCup points, No. 7 in Official World Golf Rankings and ninth in putting average for the TOUR. Your game seems to be hitting on all cylinders. How about telling us your evaluation of your preparation so far?
ADAM SCOTT: Thanks very much for that, Rob. Some good stats there, certainly. I was unaware of a couple of them there, the ninth in putting is very good. I think I did aim to be the best putter by the time I got here, but ninth is going to have to do, I guess.
Look, I've played some good golf certainly over the Florida stretch, but that's nearly a month ago now. I can't rely on that to get to where I want to be this week. So for me starting here this week, it's a new week and a new challenge, and the way I see it, I've got three tough days, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, to put myself in a position to win a Masters championship.
Everything in the lead‑up has gone well. It's up to me to execute it now. It's as simple as that.
Q. Talk about what you are doing transitioning to the smaller putter and what adjustments and changes you've made. And in your practice and your routine, how you're preparing for tournaments with that?
ADAM SCOTT: I guess it's been a little bit of a process, but I would say I'm fully through that transition period. The way I feel is no different than when I was with the longer putter. The routines and the practice and everything, the drills, they are all the same. Just has a shorter shaft. It might sound simple, but that's how I'm trying to keep it.
I know from past experience, and I think‑‑ or it seemed like everyone forgot I putted with a short putter for the first ten years of my career and that I would be unable to do so as I went back to a short putter.
But as I look back on that time, I know what I did wrong and why I got myself in frustrating streaks with the putter where I putted poorly. But obviously I putted well, too, because in that ten‑year period, I enjoyed some success with it. So try and learn from that, learn from all the good stuff I did using the longer putter, and put it all together and hopefully I'll be a much better, more consistent putter with this short putter than any putter I've ever used before. That's my goal.
Q. Back‑to‑back wins a month ago; how does a player sustain that form of not playing a couple of weeks and obviously with the Masters in mind?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I don't know if I have really sustained that form. I didn't play as well at Bay Hill and the Match Play. I played okay.
But there are a lot of factors to take into that. You have to adjust your preparation a little bit, certainly after finishing second, first, first, there's a little fatigue of three solid weeks in contention at big events, tough golf courses. It was a grind. I was pushing myself every day just to get up to that right intensity level to try and compete, again, against good fields on pretty tricky golf courses in the next two events.
I didn't make it through to the weekend at the Match Play, but that was probably a bonus for me to just get a couple extra days rest, because it was a pretty full on schedule for me.
I've just tried to pace myself and really temper my expectations a little bit or lower them coming here, because it's been a long time since Doral when I last won. Like I said at the start, I can't just expect to show up and fall into contention here this week. It's a major championship. It's a different examination altogether and it will require complete focus to get there on Sunday.
Q. Jason was just in here, and he spoke about kind of The Open field, the way that golf is right now with so many different guys in contention each week, and he called that great for the game, which is just interesting obviously for those of us who lived through the Tiger era of domination. How do you say that? Do you agree that's a good thing for the game or how do you perceive it?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it's good for me, because I lived through the Tiger dominance, too (laughter). We all just felt at times we were playing for second, that's for sure.
I think it is, it's a different point in the game. I think it's going to be awhile before, or if ever, we see dominance like we saw from Tiger Woods. The game's changed even in the last six or seven years since Tiger won his last major championship in lots of different ways.
The way I see it, I see it, it's just the continued evolution of the game. Professional golf is in such a good spot at the moment, especially with guys like Jason and Jordan and Rory at the top of the world. I think they are great ambassadors for golf, incredible talents, pushing the bar even higher in the game for me to try to keep up with them and a whole bunch of other guys.
It's been well documented leading into this Masters, there are probably ten, 12, 15 guys you could make a good case for that have a real shot at winning this tournament, even with the standard of golf that high. Whereas before, when Tiger set the benchmark, Tiger controlled the outcome so much in some way. It didn't always happen, he didn't win every time; but he did, if he was playing on his game, it was very, very hard to beat him.
Q. We hear so much about the level of precision and accuracy required on this golf course, particularly with approach shots. How would you explain that to someone who couldn't understand why that's distinct here?
ADAM SCOTT: I think just generally, the amount of slope on this golf course is the thing that you forget from year‑to‑year as a player coming here, and the thing that you most need to familiarize yourself with in your practice rounds. When there's that much slope on a green running at 13 on the Stimpmeter, if it catches the wrong slope, you could hit quite a good shot ten feet right of the hole. But if it catches the slope, it's 45 feet away. And now you've gone from a 10‑foot up the hill, which is made by a good putter 60 percent of the time, a real birdie opportunity, a likely birdie; to 45 feet away, which is probably more a 3‑putt opportunity.
These are the challenges that you face the whole day around here. Of course, some greens are more severe than others, but you do have to be very precise, because if you're a little bit off with your iron play, from the fairway, if you're off with your tee shots, then you're going to have a really long day. But if you're off with your iron play from the fairway, you're going to have a long day on the greens putting from 40 feet and not giving yourself a lot of chances.
Also, if you miss on the short side, then you'll be chipping back down to 40 feet, which is even worse because then you can 3‑putt for double.
There are great opportunities here at this golf course, but also if the mistakes are made in the wrong areas, there's a disaster waiting to happen on every shot. That's the balance that you have to find when you're playing out here, and that's why this is so exciting, this golf tournament, because a three‑shot swing is very, very possible.
Q. Just going back to what you were saying about Tiger, so you go 2‑1‑1 in consecutive weeks and it was draining; can you imagine doing it for 13 or 14 or 15 years?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I can't. I really don't‑‑ I can understand why Tiger played a light schedule. Because he put so much getting into ready to play; he then played, and he played in contention every time he did, and I understand he needed to recover and then reset. I can understand that.
What's hard to imagine and what I like about is imagine the confidence he must have had going to the golf course to play over that period of time. I thought I felt pretty confident rolling around Florida there a couple of weeks ago, but that's how he felt for ten years. And I know, he probably had ups and downs, too, but it was at a level that was really, certainly I couldn't imagine. It was so good the way he played for such a long period of time. Just getting it done; the more you win, the more you believe in yourself; the more you go for a shot, the more you pull off a shot when it counts. That's what it was like watching him for that period.
Q. As a fan‑‑ not as a competitor obviously, but as a fan, was it special? And looking back on it now, does it really seem special?
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely it does. The highlight reel, I watch it on YouTube at times, is endless, of all the great stuff that he has done. I was really fortunate to get some front row seats at times to getting to play with him throughout those years and watching it close‑up. And as a fan, absolutely, it was special, and I think he made us believe it was going to go forever and ever. That was the incredible thing. You know, that's probably not the reality of it, but it went for such a long period of time that we thought it was.
I think, yeah, so I look back on it as even more special now.
Q. When you sort of talk about your confidence and your feelings; three years after you won the Masters, what's the feelings and emotions when you step into the former champions room and see your name on the locker? Presumably you open the door and the green jacket is in there.
ADAM SCOTT: Yes, this is a week where it's very hard for me not to walk around with a smile on my face. Coming back into the club is a great feeling. Going up into the champions locker room and sharing a locker with Gary Player is just incredible for me and to share a couple moments with him every week beside our locker. Then all the other guys on top of that, walking out the other side of the clubhouse and seeing this incredible golfing arena that's Augusta National Golf Club.
It really is such a special week anyway, but having won here, knowing I'm coming back forever, and having my little part of this tournament is fantastic for me. And like I said, I think it just purely makes me very happy.
Q. Along the same line, but curious, you seem to be a very quiet gentleman. Do you just sit back and listen when you go to the Champions Dinner tonight and let Gary and the other gentlemen take over?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, they are very good at entertaining. I would probably only dull the evening. Last year was really, really fun. I'm looking forward to tonight. I'm expecting Texas barbecue. I think that should be happening, so I'm excited for that. That sounds really good. Let these guys do the talking. Sit back and have a laugh.
Q. On a side note, Ben Crenshaw made a point at the Match Play, that the highlight of all his Masters dinners was whatever you brought from Australia, he wasn't sure what they were, but the delicacy. What were they?
ADAM SCOTT: The Moreton Bay bugs. I'm glad. Nick Faldo really appreciated the wine and Ben liked the bugs. If I win again, I promise I'll serve that again.
Q. Obviously three years ago, the emotion of it all was so massive, not just for you winning your first major but winning here, breaking the hoodoo, the whole country was awash with euphoria. How would beginning it again be different? Would it be more dissatisfying and what would be the feeling if you did it again?
ADAM SCOTT: I really don't know how to answer that. It's hard for me to think that anything I achieve will be bigger than that moment in my career, but that doesn't mean I'm not striving to win other Masters Tournaments or any other big championship.
At some point, I would have said that I don't want it to be the one major that I win. I feel I've got the game to win other majors, and I'm looking to win my second major championship this week, and I'm driven towards doing that because I want to win a handful of majors in my career.
I need to get my skates on because it's getting tougher and tougher every year. But I'm in good shape. I think it will just be another boost for the confidence in my career to go on and try and achieve everything I've ever wanted.
Q. Do you ever think about how long, on that subject, that you think you can still win out here at the highest level?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, Andrew, which is probably a good thing, because it means I'm not quite there yet that I have to worry about it.
But it certainly seems like there are only a few players who have been very dominant over 40 years old, and it's probably going to be harder, too, as the young 20‑somethings are better and better. That's probably a trend that's going to continue to happen.
My window might not be closing, but it's not wide open, either (laughter).
Q. Do you see any reason, if you stay healthy, why you can't be just as competitive in your 40s, or do you think it's just inevitable?
ADAM SCOTT: No, because like I said, there's a few exemptions to that. Vijay was one of them. Phil Mickelson's won in his 40s, Ernie's won a major in his 40s. I think at that point, that's what I'm talking about is winning major championships.
But they're the greatest players of that era. They're the ones who are doing it. So for me, I need to be at that kind of level to think I'm going to be able to continue to do that. Like I said, I haven't given it a lot of thought because I don't really want to think about getting there too quick. But I think it's very possible if I'm healthy that I can compete well into my 40s.
Q. Does it seem like 15 Masters? And is there anything today that you think back on, wow, I wish I would have known that back in the early days about this place?
ADAM SCOTT: It doesn't really feel like 15 Masters. It feels like‑‑ I remember the first one very clearly. I finished ninth and didn't really know what all the fuss was about. It was a really great week for me. My name was on the leaderboard as I walked up the 18th. It was on the bottom (laughter), but it was there and that's something I really remember.
Then there was kind of a blur for awhile of just playing and not getting anything out of it as far as results go. And then really turned the corner in 2010, I felt, where I somehow just developed a high level of comfort playing around the golf course, and then since then, the results have been good. I guess that's just how it's panned out in the course of my career. Yeah, I wish‑‑ I think I got very defensive five or six years playing the golf course and just being too aware of where all the trouble was and forgetting that I could hit a good shot and not get near any trouble. Just too worried about keeping it away from the trouble, and you end up safe, but with a very hard next shot.
Again, that's back to the design of the golf course and the strategy and the beauty of the design.
Q. You said that the game has changed a bunch in the last seven or eight years since Tiger last won a major. Could you expand on that a bit?
ADAM SCOTT: I think there are lots of areas it's changed. Probably technology, just generally, has changed a lot in that space of time. Fitness and understanding of the body and biomechanics, studies have advanced in that time and been applied in a better way than I think before.
So all these things that, just the amount of information that's available to all players obviously, is far greater. And if it's given in the right way and applied correctly, I think that's why you see younger players playing more competitively early in their careers than before, because they are getting information that is based around course management with all the statistics, strokes gained, this, that and the other; they are getting information that's course management that myself or all the guys might have taken five, six, or seven years of experience to learn. But they are passed on stats information on how to play golf courses and to this pin and average strokes gained and putting from here and there. They can apply that and be very mature course management players at a young age, with their talent to hit the golf ball 300 yards in the air and all the other things makes the game a little bit easier for them. And you don't have such a long learning curve through some trial and error as you're going around learning, figuring out how to manage your own game.
It's not completely given to you, but there are definitely statistics and information out there that can help you do that.
Q. There's a lot of history and legends and stories that have been played out here before. They often say this tournament doesn't begin until the back nine on Sunday. Can you explain what changes? Does the atmosphere change here?
ADAM SCOTT: For those lucky enough to be in contention, I think that's true. The first 63 holes are pretty nerve‑wracking, as well, though. Going to the first tee Thursday is the most nervous I get all year of any event anywhere at any time. Even more nervous than coming to a playoff or coming off the last hole with a chance to win, is the first tee. It's something that I found it the hardest to calm down on this golf course in the first round over the first few holes than anywhere else. It obviously has a real significance to me. But that's something I've had to learn to do here.
But yes, it does change when you get to the 10th tee and you're in contention. You have this amazing nine holes that you can just picture so clearly and the shots that have been hit and the putts that have been made are infamous, and they are just all right there and you know it could be you if you do the right stuff. And it's such an exciting part of the tournament that you hope to get to.
And that's why I said before, I have three days to kind of grind and get myself in with a chance. And Sunday is really the most fun here, because if you can get around that front nine and then go to the 10th tee and have that chance to play Amen Corner and then drive it in the fairway on 15 and hit it on the green and hole a putt for eagle, like Nicklaus did, or all the other great stuff that's happened, I see that as incredibly exciting. You could be three back going there and all of a sudden through Amen Corner, you're leading the tournament. So much can happen. It's the brilliance of this tournament.
Q. Can you elaborate on when you won the two tournaments in the row what your conversations were like with Dave Clark about your arrangement with Steve? Also, what does Steve Williams' experience afford you here? What's the difference he provides?
ADAM SCOTT: I didn't have any conversations with David. Back in September last year when David came to work for me, he was coming on to do, I guess it's known as a job share agreement. That was what was outlined, so there was no need for any conversation. Some other guys out here do job share, and other guys have in the past, as well.
Q. The thinking would be that obviously you had a run of success, you're on good form with him, so any change to your arrangement would be a potential disruption?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I would see if I changed it from not bringing Steve here, that would be a change to the plan. So that would be the disruption.
Q. Just Steve's experience here.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it's invaluable, isn't it? I don't know if any caddie has won as much as he has around here. So he has an affinity with the golf course from his side of things, and our results in the major championships since Steve started working for me in 2011, has been fantastic for me, if you compare them to my results in major championships before that point.
Obviously Steve won't be the influence in everything I do in my golf game, but he's certainly had a positive impact. Even coming back after nine months off the bag last year at the U.S. Open, my form was very average leading into it and we got into contention and we ended up finishing fourth with a great Sunday round.
I'm looking for that same kind of magic out of him this week, just like I ask out of David Clark any week he's caddying and myself every week I'm playing.
THE MODERATOR: We thank you all very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports