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May 9, 2017

Adam Scott

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

JOHN BUSH: Like to welcome Adam Scott to the interview room here at the 2017 PLAYERS Championship. He's making his 16th consecutive appearance at THE PLAYERS Championship, our 2004 champion. Let's get some comments on being back, please, Adam.

ADAM SCOTT: Obviously I love coming here to TPC. It's one of my favorite tournaments of the year and something I look forward to every year, so I have great memories here over the years. Not just for winning, but I've been playing late on the weekends quite a few times, and the atmosphere and the way this golf course lends itself to excitement out there is very fun to be a part of. So even though I haven't won the tournament for a long time, I've still had a lot of good feelings out on the golf course, hitting great shots on Sunday, and hearing the crowd roar for those good shots on 17 or 16 and 18. It's a fun place to play.

So I'm excited to be here for this week with a few changes, but it's going to be another great week. Hopefully my game's coming along nicely.

JOHN BUSH: Before questions, it was announced this morning a 10-year extension for FedExCup. Really puts the PGA TOUR in a great place. Just comment on what that means as a player.

ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's obviously great, it's been 10 already, which is amazing. That's gone quick. It's good to see that continue. It's been a huge investment from FedEx and fantastic that they find it valuable to them, and obviously it's great for us and the TOUR. Everyone's kind of grasped the concept of the FedExCup and playoff golf now, and it looks like that's going to be the way moving forward. So another 10 years will just see me off into retirement.

JOHN BUSH: Questions?

Q. Earlier Jason and Rory talked about self-belief and how even at the top of this game you can lack that. Wondering if you could talk about times where you may have -- if have you lacked self-belief and how you sort of combat that, given that you're obviously very good at the game.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think that it probably just starts more with just general confidence, and then when you really have been struggling for awhile, I guess self-belief is at the very bottom end of any confidence with the game of golf. Yeah, there have been -- if I think back to 2009, I played poorly for six months, and compounding poor shots after poor shots and bad scores, the self-belief starts to dwindle. One of the challenges of the game is if you play long enough, it's going to happen to everyone, you've got to figure out a way to get it back. Fortunately, I got a bit of confidence back and chipped away at it and brought it back up, but absolutely the self-belief has to be there, otherwise you wouldn't be able to play these courses that we're asked to play with such demanding shots and such severe consequence now to every poor one.

Q. Is there a tangible thing to get that back? Like you said it's gone, and is it just a shot, a couple of shots, or do you really have to dig deep into your mental game and say, hey, I know I'm better than this?
ADAM SCOTT: Confidence is a shot or a couple of shots or a round. It can come back quick. Self-belief you have to dig deep and start asking yourself some pretty blunt questions and give yourself some honest answers, as well. There's no way to fake it back if you're really have no belief and feeling that you can compete out here.

Q. How do you think the changes to 12 will alter players' approach to the course this weekend?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think it's just relevant to that hole. You're going to see a lot of guys go for the green. I think that that's what's going to happen. They have made it very open in the front of the green. There's nothing to stop a straight shot going right up into the middle of the green, unless it's severely into the wind. But even then, I think guys can still get it near the green. So if they play that tee all week, which I would assume they will, because that's the point of changing the whole hole, you're going to see some eagles there and a lot of birdies, a lot more than we saw on the old 12th. That's really the only change that's noticeable. The conditions are firm and fast out there, which we have seen at times in the past, and that's the way this course plays best.

Q. You were the last defending champion to so much as have a top-10 when you tied for 8th. The best a defending champion has ever been able to do is a tie for 5th. I know it's hard to win any tournament and I know it's really hard to win here, but why has it been impossible for anybody to win back-to-back?
ADAM SCOTT: Probably just because the tournament's only 40 years old or however old it is. I don't know, it's been here 40 years maybe?

Q. 43.
ADAM SCOTT: 43? Maybe it's not -- maybe it's one of those anomalies. I think it's going to happen. Of course, it could happen this week. Jason is defending; he's a great player, but he could easily do it. But as well as all the great players who have won here, they all have different styles of game, so I think that the course is open to so many different guys to have a chance to win that maybe that's why it makes a little bit harder to have someone go back-to-back here. There's just more guys in the mix. Length isn't a huge factor here. It's not a huge advantage. Of course it is if you hit is dead straight down the middle, but there's a lot of fairway runouts and a few doglegs and things like that that bring the long hitters back to play from the same area as the other guys. So you're all kind of playing from the same spot, and that leaves it open for anyone.

Q. Rory just got married, Sergio's on his way. Rory talked about how it centered him, he hopes it centers him. Curious your experience, you've been married a little while, but not forever. Before and after, is that true? You're in a non-team sport, so I would assume that in some ways your spouse becomes your teammate.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I don't know, it's just part of growing up, isn't it. You find that right person and then you get married and you hope it is that person that's going to center you or steady you and guide you along whatever you both are doing. That's obviously what they're hoping for, too, I think. So it should be a really fun part of life. That's what it's been for me. And the time was right for me to do it, as it is what these guys are thinking, too.

But it absolutely -- your personal life can absolutely affect what happens out here, maybe more so than a team sport, if that's what you were kind of getting at, because there's no hiding, there's no one to flick the club to to hit a few shots for you when you don't feel like it, and in a team sport, if you're a bit off, the team will know that and they will maybe not pass you the ball so much. But out here we can't do that. So any kind of baggage or feelings you may have off the course definitely, as much as you can block it out, eventually it creeps into what goes on. This is a very mental game, and you've got to be in a good state of mind going out there to play at the highest level, and I think obviously getting married and all these kind of things, having children, are big highs for people, and it's no coincidence to me that when they find that kind of peace with their personal life, I've seen lots of guys have good results out on the golf course.

Q. You're the youngest person to win this golf tournament. There's been so much discussion with the under-30 crowd being some of the rising stars of the game. How difficult is it to win this tournament so young, and then secondly, do you think, how much experience is required on this course to be successful, because there's only been two who have won it in their first time playing?
ADAM SCOTT: Oh in their first time. I think going back to what I said before, just the fact that it's kind of a wide-open course for the whole field to compete on. It's more like The Open Championship in that respect. Length isn't a big factor there for -- it's just tougher to win, full stop. The field is as strong as any field in the game of golf, so all these things are counting against a young guy. Then, of course, experience plays some part, but to me the young guys now come out more experienced than ever, more prepared to win. They understand what a golf ball does better than we ever did and people before me, so they're more prepared, but it's a very tough examination. It's pressure. The tournament has gained stature throughout the years, so they come out now knowing how important it is. There's lots of things for young guys to manage if they're in the hunt, and then of course we all know about the hazards of 16, 17 and 18, and that's a lot to handle. So there's a lot of pressure out there.

I think that because it now is kind of firm and fast and it's not as much target golf as maybe it used to be, especially this week anyway, some young guys may not have as much experience playing the ball on the ground and rolling it out and playing away from pins, which are habits we get into playing the TOUR week-to-week; it's pretty much fire at the pin and how close can you stick it. But there's a little more strategy required on this course. It's one of the great tournament courses we play, so that may -- all those things may contribute, and that's why I just got lucky that year, I think.

Q. Jason talked extensively earlier today about his desire to try to get back to being No. 1 and he was using the analogy about climbing the mountain and how some players maybe are content just being at base camp, rather than making the sacrifices required to get back up. Could you talk, as someone who's been No. 1 in the world, could you talk a little bit about that and how you can relate to what he was talking about.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think it's a big commitment to go out and say that and do it. It's obviously a dream of every kid who makes it to be a pro, they're all hoping to be No. 1 one day. We have all dreamed of that. It takes some guys longer than others. Once they truly believe they can do it and they want to commit to trying to achieve that goal, for me it was the better part of two and a half years of just building good result after good result and just chipping away to be consistently better than everybody for a little while and it was very short lived. Jason obviously played so dominantly in that position and he can't feel like he's far away from it, it's still so close. So for him, it is a very realistic goal.

But if you think about just from the outside looking at the way that Jason chipped away at it and worked at it, he might say it was longer than two and a half years, it was a six- or seven-year just putting everything into it just to get there, and even though he was a very dominant No. 1 that lasted however long, I mean, we were spoiled in some ways watching Tiger just breeze along at No. 1 for 10 or 12 years. It seems like that's going to be very hard for anyone else to do at the moment with the depth of talent.

So it's a good goal to have, because you're going to have to play some good golf and you're going to achieve a lot along the way, even if you get there only briefly. So I think if he's wanting to do that, he's ready to put all the cards in again and make a big commitment to having his game at the highest level.

Q. Would you liken golf to say tennis or boxing in that you have to be on top of your game and believe that you're on top of your game to have a chance to win?
ADAM SCOTT: It's helpful if you are, but no, it's not always the case. You can get it around and not hit it your best and win, and you can get it around and not putt your best and win. There are different areas, and some weeks you just manage the golf course better and make less bogeys and you do nothing special but you're 8-under and somehow that squeaks home. There's just so many variables and factors with golf over 72 holes, how many things have to go your way and bounces here and there. It's very hard, whereas -- I don't really know, but the boundary lines on a tennis court are kind of the same; even though the ball's moving and every shot can be different, you're hitting into the same place all the time, and it changes every week for us. It's not necessarily a thing that you have to be super confident in there, but it's funny how even if you start the week without confidence but you played your way into contention, you play a little better come the end of the week, just because you're actually scoring well and beating most other people.

So sometimes that's the way to turn it around, you're grinding yourself out of a hole and you're just willing the ball into the hole and somehow get it done.

Q. To follow-up, your results have been solid this year, but as you said yourself, not really up to your standards. In your on words, how do you fire up your season? What's missing or what do you need to do?
ADAM SCOTT: I need to hit the ball better. I've not hit the ball well this year. That's kind of, unfortunately, dragged me down a little bit. I don't feel I've been able to get the results of some improved short game stuff as much, even though my putting stats have been a bit better and everything, but I haven't hit the ball well, so it's kind of dragged it down to mediocre. For me, I need a good week of striking the golf ball. This is a perfect week to do that and get a result, get in contention. I really haven't been there, other than the Masters, which is good, because that's the week I planned to peak, and this is another one, so I would love to get in the hunt here and feel competitive and feel like I can beat some of these guys as we move into the summer and lots of important golf coming up.

Q. Back to the question of being No. 1, Rory was in here talking about how it doesn't seem being No. 1 will faze D.J., that nothing fazes D.J. Just wondering, when were you there, how did you handle it, what did you find the most challenging, and would you do anything differently about the way you went about it?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I just thought I would enjoy it. I really enjoyed going to the golf course every day as the best player in the world, and I didn't know how long that would last, and it didn't last that long, unfortunately, not through really my poor play, but more Rory's phenomenal play. Three wins, two Major, and a World Golf Championship is going to end anyone's run. Even if it didn't by numbers, I wouldn't be feeling like the best player in the world after that. I don't think I can say I would have done anything different. For me it was such a long, long journey to get there, I just kind of savored the moment. That's why I entered the Colonial; I wanted to play as the world No. 1 because I could have sat at home and not been at the end of the week, and I had just only good feelings. I certainly didn't feel that much more pressure to play like the No. 1, I just wanted to enjoy it, because, really, it was off my radar for so long, my dreams were kind of crushed, my childhood dreams, because Tiger was far and above anyone else's capabilities for a long time.

Q. Did you find any added commitment to being No. 1? Is that a drain at all?
ADAM SCOTT: No, it really wasn't. Like I said, I just kind of enjoyed it and it only lasted a couple months, so maybe, probably, for a guy like D.J., he's well ahead, he's going to be No. 1 for awhile now, I guess, no matter what happens. It could add up over time, but I didn't have that problem.

Q. Have you played 12, and if you have, what club did you hit off the tee? And if you haven't, what club do you intend to hit off the tee? And then could you speak a little bit more about the strength of the golf course that you referred to earlier when you said it was one of the best tournament courses that you played?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah the 12th I played early this morning and I hit driver over the back of the green, and probably it's a 3-wood in the conditions today, but it was so early, I wasn't really loose. So I see guys hitting 3-wood, long hitters hitting 3-woods, and I can see Dustin hitting an iron on the green there. And like I said before, I think, yeah, it's going to be exciting. You're going to see some eagles and you're going to see some birdies or a lot of birdies. You're going to see a couple disasters, because if you really hit a poor tee shot, you can get in the rough on the downslope, chipping towards the water, and some bad things can happen, of course, like everywhere, here at TPC, but I think it's a great golf course because it's exciting for a tournament. Obviously the finish just lends itself to excitement no matter what happens, good shots and bad shots equally. And I think the people here in Jacksonville and the area have come out in droves for so long, they have made it exciting, too. Like I said before, I have great memories of playing here, not just the year I won, but the atmosphere out on the course, it is called the Stadium Course and I think that it's aptly named, because it does feel like you're playing in an environment, a different environment than some other golf courses here, so it's a great design course for tournament. It's risk and reward, it's penal, and lots of things happening out there all the time. I think that's interesting for people to watch.

JOHN BUSH: Adam, best of luck this week. Thank you, sir.


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