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March 22, 2005

Adam Scott


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome our defending champion, Adam Scott, to the interview room.

Adam, maybe talk a little bit about defending THE PLAYERS Championship and your preparation coming into this week.

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I've been quite looking forward to getting back here and defending. It's gone very quickly the last year, I think, but I've really enjoyed being The Players Champion. I'm excited about playing out here again this week and hopefully bringing some form like I did last year.

My preparation has been pretty good, although I didn't play great on Sunday last week. I've been playing well apart from that and I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing what the course is set up like this year.

Q. How was winning THE PLAYERS different than winning Deutsche Bank or Kemper, Booz Allen?

ADAM SCOTT: It is different. There are a couple of events apart from the majors that are probably set aside as bigger events and probably THE TOUR Championship and THE PLAYERS I'd say are two that stand out. And the history of the place and the drama that's gone on here and the strength of the field, the golf course, everything about this, makes this tournament stand out. And I think all the players know that and they call it the 5th major or it's just a bigger event than the Deutsche Bank or the Booz Allen or Bay Hill or any other TOUR event. It's a big deal to all of us.

Q. Bigger than The Skins Game?

ADAM SCOTT: Bigger than The Skins Game, yes.

Q. Adam, there's been a little bit of a learning curve about this course; for the longest time nobody won twice here, let alone repeat, and that's happened now three times. The prospect of trying to defend two years in a row has also never happened. Do you think that since this tournament is going to stay here in the same spot all the time that the chances get easier for somebody to win it twice in a row?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I'm sure that will happen, absolutely. Obviously it's a very challenging course and I don't think it necessarily favors any type of player, although a long hitter, if they're on their game and hitting it straight, can take advantage of probably some of the par 5s better than a shorter hitter, but because it's staying at the same place and we're coming back here every year, I definitely think it's going to happen, someone will defend.

Q. Do you feel like you're playing well enough right now to have a good chance to do it?

ADAM SCOTT: I feel like I have been, yeah. I feel there are a couple of things I'd like to straighten out in my long game, but I feel my short game is right on top of where it should be. My putting is solid. And if I can just straighten out a couple of my faults in the swing, which aren't major, I feel like I've got a good chance of it.

I've been playing pretty solid this year and had an unofficial win in LA, but at least I got in that winner's circle there, and that's always good for the confidence. You don't want to be too long out of that winner's circle or it becomes quite a challenge to get back in.

Q. Speaking of that win in LA, does it make sense to you that it is "unofficial"?

ADAM SCOTT: I guess so, because it's only two rounds. I presume they've just got to have a winner and it's not a full run tournament, so it's going to be an unofficial win. That's okay, but it's funny that you get a trophy, but you don't get the win put on your career record or something like that.

Q. You don't have to give the check back?

ADAM SCOTT: No, the check is still mine (laughter). The trophy I have, as well, but I don't have the win. It's a strange deal. It was a strange tournament, but someone had to win, I guess.

Q. Would you have liked it to be official for the Kapalua?

ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely, sure I would, yeah. But I've still got that target to reach this year. I've got to go and win another tournament to get to Kapalua. And that's one event you want to play in every year so you know you've had some success, so I'd like to make it this week, that's for sure.

Q. You've made some poignant comments about the whole week, the day you won, but in the months since then, have you looked back on Nissan or does it seem like it never happened because of the bizarreness of it?

ADAM SCOTT: It doesn't feel like I won a tournament, like I said back then. I never played under the heat playing down the stretch like I have in the past. And all of a sudden it was just Chad and I left and one hole to decide the tournament. I never played with that pressure of a weekend or the Sunday back nine, when you're in contention and it's tight. It was a really strange deal to win because it didn't feel draining like the other wins do.

Q. When you win, and I saw it a minute ago with Kenny, you go through two days of guys patting you on the back and shaking your hand. What did they say at Accenture; did you get that?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, everyone said a win is a win, it's official in my book. You get that, but it still didn't really feel the same, even right after, or after the presentation, it didn't feel like the same. Not that I didn't earn it or feel proud that I'd achieved something, it just didn't have the same feel as finishing off here at The PLAYERS last year. It wasn't really a week's long work.

Q. So would you rather that win is fine, it's still a win in your book, but the heat of coming down 18 like you did last year and having that pressure on you, you'd rather have that?

ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely, yeah. I think that's what we're all playing for, that's what we're working on our game for, and to test yourself and see whether what you're working on is going to see whether you're going to perform under that pressure, see whether your swing can hold up, whether your mindset can hold up. And that's what I think you get the biggest thrill out of. That's why I feel a sense of accomplishment when you do win, because everything you've worked for for however long or what you've been working on has come off and you can feel proud of yourself that you've achieved something.

Q. Speaking of coming down in the heat, which shot down the stretch did you feel the most pressure on, the tee shot on 17 or 18? Which shot had more pressure on it?

ADAM SCOTT: I think the tee shot on 18. I think that was the hardest shot. At the time 17 was quite important, but that's just a wedge to quite a big target, and I was never really going to shoot for the pin over there. So I was pretty comfortable with that because I was swinging well. But 18 is quite a difficult tee shot, and hitting a 2 iron like I did was going to leave myself a fair way back. But missing it right is not that good either, really. It's just one that you really need to get in the fairway.

I think once I hit that shot and I just nailed it, too, I think I convinced myself it was kind of over, this is now just walk it in and I probably got a little bit too lazy and over it goes in the water.

Q. Kind of along the lines, which was more pressure, the 6 iron or the wedge?

ADAM SCOTT: 6 iron or the wedge on 17, you mean?

Q. 18.

ADAM SCOTT: The chip shot on 18? Yeah, the chip shot. That was the most pressure I've felt on any shot probably ever.

Q. As you looked back on it in the following week, were you more disappointed with what you did with the 6 iron or more proud of how you followed up?

ADAM SCOTT: More proud of what I followed up with. I think I took a lot more out of winning that way than if I hit the 6 iron on the green and two putted and had kind of a comfortable two shot win. Instead it turned into a bit of a nightmare of a one shot win. And I think to keep my composure and get a grip and hit a pretty good pitch shot and hit a really great putt gave me a lot more confidence than just hitting a 6 iron on the green and two putting from 30 feet or wherever it was.

Q. Along those same lines, do you feel like in a way you grew a little bit after that 6 iron and what did that show you with the way you did respond with the wedge up and the 8 or whatever however long the putt was?

ADAM SCOTT: I think it's a bit of what I was talking about, testing your mental side of the game, because that's after that 6 iron went in the water I think it was more about how I reacted mentally than how I hit a chip or how I hit the putt. It would have been pretty easy to screw the whole thing up. It was quite a tough chip and a lot of pressure and one of the biggest events of the year on the line and somehow I managed to get my head around it and figure out I've still got a chip and a putt to win.

Q. I guess you probably have to block out the large gallery that's around there when you put the 6 iron in, figuring it's a young guy, he hasn't been in this kind of fire before. Probably most people in the galleries are expecting you to cough it up, wouldn't you think that, if you were sitting there watching it? Do you have to block that out as a player?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I mean you can hear everyone murmuring and mumbling up there. You know that's going on, but I never thought I was going to lose the tournament. I think that's probably why I did win, because I never thought, "Oh, my God, I've hit a 6 iron in the water, I'm going to choke, I'm going to lose." That never really came into my mind. The first thing that came into my mind was I've got a chip and a putt to still win. And I think that was probably fortunate that somehow that came into my mind and still kept me positive.

At the start of the week if someone gave me a chip and a putt to win from the front of the green I'd be jumping at the chance, you couldn't wait to get that chip shot. And so that's almost the attitude I had going into it.

Q. How much does the design of this course add to that heat, add to that challenge the last two or three holes?

ADAM SCOTT: It's fantastic because you know all day, you know 17 is coming. You put it out of your mind all day, and when you get to the middle of the 16th fairway, it's sitting right there, you cannot look, you've got to have a look. And it's just it's a fabulous hole, it's just a wedge or a 9 iron but creates havoc in everyone's mind. I think that's what makes the drama of this tournament and this course, because you never know what's going to happen out there. You can be leading by two, you could be leading by four, and then you get through 17, it's never really over. You can have a great finish as well, like Padraig did last year, I think he finished with six or seven 3's in a row, and when you do that you're never really out of a tournament.

It can work both ways; you can either have a great finish coming from nowhere or you can stumble a little bit, because water is the ultimate penalty in golf, I think.

Q. Do you think the biggest gap between 1 and 150, is it a physical difference between the two or a mental difference?

ADAM SCOTT: In the rankings?

Q. In golf in general, at this level, do you think the difference between one player to another is more physical or mental at this level?

ADAM SCOTT: I think there's probably a line where it goes where it is mental and then there is a physical difference, as well. I think between myself and the top players in the world, the big four we're talking about now, or big five, I don't know, we'll put Retief in there as well, he deserves it, is probably mental. It's probably experience and maybe maturity, I don't know.

But experience plays a big part, and it's probably an extra ten years of them being out here on top of me that they know a little bit more about it and can deal with situations a bit better. That's what I believe is the difference between me and that number one top position.

Q. The shots they can hit that you feel you can't hit, in other words, basically?

ADAM SCOTT: Not really. I think Tiger Woods can hit shots that I can't hit, but I don't really see that with other guys, you know. I feel like I can keep pace with them as far as physically hitting shots.

Q. Your pre shot routine, how many times do you look at the target before you pull the trigger? Does that routine change at all on 17?

ADAM SCOTT: I don't actually know. I might look twice or three times normally. I don't actually think I count the same amount every time. I probably look until I feel comfortable. But if I'm looking more than three times, I think I'm not so comfortable, I'd better start again. I can't be looking seven or eight times, I'll be standing there too long. 17 is hard, you've got to you've really got to stick to your routine, because you can't stand there and question yourself at all; you've got to get your routine, nail it and just hit.

Q. Freddie Couples' advice a long time ago was don't look.

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, one look would be ideal. I'd like to get right over the ball and feel comfortable, look once and hit. That would be ideal. Hopefully I can do that a couple of times.

Q. What shots can Tiger hit that you can't?

ADAM SCOTT: You want me to list them all?

Q. Yes.

ADAM SCOTT: The 290 yard 3 wood at Doral on 12 the other day, that was probably the first one; the 365 yard drive down the 8th at Doral; and the shots out of the rough that somehow he hits a 5 iron from 220 yards out of the thick stuff and it lands on the green like a butterfly with soft feet. And he hits his imagination is incredible, and I don't understand how he can spin balls out of the rough like he does sometimes. It's quite it's fascinating.

Q. And secondly, what about Phil's legendary trick shots, short game, his every shot in the bag he can play, if necessary; is that something that you feel he's got an edge over you there?

ADAM SCOTT: I feel I have a pretty good imagination for trick shots, shots flop shots, whatever they're called. I feel like I can play them all right. It's probably the more straightforward ones, the ones I pitch in, and I'm just getting them up there in the air that I feel that's the difference. I'd like to work on my chipping, I'd like to chip in a little more on the straightforward shots like they do.

I think Ernie Els' short game is as good as anyone else's, as well. And they're so good, those guys at the top; Vijay, as well. That's why they're at the top, because every aspect of their game is above everyone else's.

Q. Some players have said when they walk down 16 they don't really notice 17, do you think

ADAM SCOTT: That's a lie (laughter). I did it last year. I tried to tell myself when I was walking down there Sunday not to look over, but I had a look, I know I did, you've got to. Just to see where the pin is, maybe to catch a ball from the group in front to see how it's landing. I think you've got to have a look.

It's like people who don't watch leaderboards. I think you should watch the leaderboard; you'd hate to make a mistake when you didn't need to take a risk. You've got to know how you stand. You've got to know how that green is reacting to the shot. You want to know where the pin is. It's not a problem to have a look.

I think you've only got a problem when you're kidding yourself that you shouldn't look, and you're getting nervous or worried because you are looking.

Q. What about the second round at Doral, and it's probably so dark you couldn't see the flag. The chip not the Doral, Bay Hill, the chip off the side of the bank there. How hard was that, and is that an example of the fact that your imagination is maybe expanding as you get more experience?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I hit a great chip there off that bank. I do believe my imagination is quite good. I really feel like you could put me up on that bank and I'll get it up and down more often than if you put me on the front of the green on the fairway and I had to chip it up for the green. I feel like because I used my imagination on that shot, whereas I'm a little too relaxed hitting the standard chip off the green. I need to use my imagination a little more and feel it. I really feel like up on that bank, the ball below my feet and the green slopes away, I'm really feeling the shot and get a really good feel for it. And that's what I think I need to do on the easier shots as well.

Q. Just as an example, that round when you were right off the tee so many times that day, but the finish in the second round, when you go eagle, birdie, and a really good up and down, is consistency what's going to separate you from the big four, being able to avoid some of those things like the tee shot on 11 in the first round that day, and maybe put together more strings of good holes and good rounds?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, consistency is why they're the best, again and that's because they seem to be in control of most every part of their game, week in, week out. I think I'm getting closer. Bay Hill I didn't play great in that first round or in the last round, the stuff in between was quite good. But at least it wasn't damaging enough that I wasn't there for the weekend, and I think that's the difference that I'm getting to now, that I feel like even my poor golf is getting better.

It's hard to know exactly what it is, why they're so consistent week in and week out. I think maybe it starts with just a run of nice golf, a two month run, you just get this confidence in you that you're not going to play poorly. And I think maybe that's what it is. I don't know what it is because I can't do it like they can yet, but I think I'm pretty sure I can get there.

Q. What do you make of playing in this so called era of The Big Four or what have you, the way these guys are playing right now? Do you allow yourself at all to be a fan of the era of these guys out here? I know everybody is trying to reach that level, but you sound fairly amazed at some of the shots that Tiger hits.

ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely. It's great to watch, as well. I think golf is at a great point right now where we've got these guys competing at a level I don't think we've seen before. I think we saw only Tiger play at this level a few years ago, and now everyone else is trying to get up there with him.

I think the standard of golf even in my five years as a professional has raised so much, it's hard to imagine, I think everyone is playing so much better right now and everyone wants a piece of the action. It's fantastic to watch, but it's even better to be a part of it and be out there playing well. I think that's definitely what drives me is to be a part of that. If I could be out there Sunday afternoon with Tiger, Vijay, Ernie, Phil or Retief, that's what I get a buzz out of, and I'd be trying my hardest to make sure I come out on top.

Q. Of the half dozen or so really great players that people look at, you're probably the only newcomer to the bunch. Is this golden era that we're in a case of everyone getting better or Tiger coming back to the field?

ADAM SCOTT: I think more everyone getting better, I really believe that. I don't believe that Tiger is coming back to the field. I think he played unbelievable golf in that stretch for a few years there, and I think that woke everyone up and realized they've got to get better or we're never going to win a major or never going to win any Tour events that he plays in because he was playing so good. And I see everyone getting better. We'll see what Tiger responds with, if he's going to get even better again, be better than all of us again.

Q. You talk about consistency. Is part of your getting better as a player being more consistent and competitive in the majors?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's the next step for me is I think that consistency will bring better performances in the majors because you can rely on your game a little bit more. So my performance has been average at best in the majors so far. I've had a couple of good finishes but some really disappointing ones, as well. So I'll be focusing on that, for sure, to get in and try to get in contention and have a shot at a major is my next move, what I'm working on.

Q. How does Augusta National stack up for your game?

ADAM SCOTT: It stacks up quite well. I believe around the greens you have to be switched on around there. You have to be in control of it. So I think to win that tournament from a hundred yards and in, as long as your short game is in good form there, I think you've got a good chance.

Q. How much do you think some of the buzz about this Big Four comes from the fact that within that group there aren't the greatest of friendships in the world and that there have been some rivalries and some words said?

ADAM SCOTT: I think that's just the way all sports are is we're all fiercely competitive; at the end of the day we all want to beat each other. And some guys can be your really good friends, but most likely the guys at the top are not going to be great, great mates. Tiger wants to beat us all pretty badly, as do the other guys. I think that's natural, that's the competitive nature.

Q. You said it's fantastic to watch. Does this translate into you watching more golf perhaps now than you did four or five years ago?

ADAM SCOTT: I guess so. I mean, I missed the cut at Doral, and I watched the golf on Sunday, which I wouldn't normally do. But that was great golf to watch. You're looking at that and you're seeing exactly what you want to be doing. That's how you want to play golf, like those guys did Sunday at Doral. So that is good for anybody to watch that golf.

Q. Friends of yours like Justin and Ian Poulter, are they doing the same thing?

ADAM SCOTT: I don't know if they watched that particular day, but I'm sure, generally, yeah, you would; you'd definitely watch that, yeah. But I'd rather be out there playing.

Q. Is there anything in your mind any doubt that you can win a major, and what's happened to your countrymen at Augusta, would that be the sweetest major to win?

ADAM SCOTT: I have no doubt in my mind that I've got the ability to win a major, and I think that comes mostly from winning this tournament last year. This is as good a field as any major gets, and to come out on top gives you a lot of confidence. A lot of things have to go your way to win a major, just like any tournament, and you have to be right on top of your game, so that's I'm trying to work myself into top form for Augusta, obviously, and the other ones, but I believe I'll get there.

I've always said I don't put too much pressure on myself on the majors, and I still kind of take that attitude, although I'm probably going to be a bit tougher on myself than I have in the past because my results haven't been great, and it's a little disappointing not to perform well. But I'm looking forward to Augusta for sure, but obviously this week is important right now.

Q. I hope this isn't too off the wall, but there was a time in the comparisons between you and Aaron, the style of dress was quite different. But you seem to be almost competing with Aaron a bit. Is that is there an evolution there that began at a certain point and is anybody encouraging you to dress a little more colorfully?

ADAM SCOTT: No, I'm just wearing the clothes that I'm given from Burberry. I think you should be more worried about Darren Clarke these days. I don't know if you caught him at Bay Hill last Sunday (laughter). I could mention a few other names, as well. I think there are a few fashionably challenged people out there. I got these ones out of the way on Tuesday.

Q. Kind of a two parter, you mentioned when you went to Deutsche Bank that there were a number of trophies in Europe that had Greg's name on it and yours, too. Have you shifted from that thinking? You're geared more toward here I think you said?

ADAM SCOTT: I'm geared more to the States because I believe this is where I'm going to get the most out of my game. But I'm still a member of the European Tour, and I'm going to play my events over there.

Q. You have your full membership?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah. But obviously it's hard to win a lot of events when you're not playing that much over there. It would be nice to go over and be successful for the weeks I'm over there. There are some events like the PGA Championship at Wentworth, obviously that's a huge event for the European Tour, and that being the first Tour I played on, it means something to me to win that tournament. There are events over there that I'd like to win.

Q. You haven't moved here, have you?


Q. Have you considered it?

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I have. I've just got to look at the schedule and see how much I'm going to be traveling. If it gets too much, then I've got to move.

Q. You just go to hotel to hotel or house to house or whatever?


End of FastScripts.

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