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November 9, 2020

Adam Scott

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to welcome 2013 Masters champion, Adam Scott. Adam's golf game has been in good form this year with two victories at the Genesis Invitational and the Australian PGA Championship.
Clearly this is a unique year in November, Adam. You know what it takes to win here. What in your mind is most different about this year, and what's the same.
ADAM SCOTT: I think a lot's different about the year, but this week and the Masters being played in these circumstances, there's no doubt the missing galleries is going to be the biggest difference. I've played two major championships since we've come back from this COVID break, and it's just‑‑ it couldn't be more different playing major championship golf without the spectators out there and the crowds and the atmosphere, and that is a huge difference.
The things that will be the same is it still means the same to us all, and maybe even more so because we return to Augusta National every year. Everything that the club does to make this a special event for everybody who gets to watch it, whether that's on TV, the Patrons who come to the grounds or the players, it's an incredible experience, and that is why it means so much to us all. That will be the same.
So we'll be missing one element, but it is a huge element to the experience of playing the Masters.

Q. When you got out there and played the course now and the conditions that it is and the length of the grass and all the things like that, what are you seeing that's different, and how different is it compared to April?
ADAM SCOTT: I can't really answer that well. I haven't been on the course yet. I've just been on the range.
So I can see just a little bit, the grass is, in some ways, a little more forgiving potentially. It's a very fine grass, just pure overseed in April, and at times on particular shots when it's quite thin and fine like that, it demands a lot of precision.
But you know, I've also heard guys say that it is quite different on the course with a little bit of the bermuda still staying around, because it is quite warm, that you have to play some shots around the greens in a different fashion.
I've got lots to learn in the next three days if that's the case.

Q. You were talking about at Bay Hill that it's your favorite time of the year and you were in good form, you had won Genesis, and so this seven‑month delay has helped some players and has hurt some. Would you say you fall into the ‑‑ it hurt your chances because you were in such good form and then you came back and you had the positive COVID test?
ADAM SCOTT: I think it's been very challenging for me personally, and I'm not going to sit here and complain about how difficult it's been. I was in good form back then in the spring, and because of all the circumstances, it's really affected my preparation and my practice, and many things since returning.
And you know, I think all the guys who are based internationally and not based here in the United States would probably feel similar. It's not easy moving around at the moment, and you know, lots of different restrictions depending where you are and where you're moving to.
But coming back here this week, since testing positive, last week wasn't too bad. There was a lot of good stuff in there, and hopefully the work that I have done and been able to do the last couple of months will accumulate and I'll be able to finish the year with a bang here this week.
But certainly my form hasn't been as good since, but it's been very‑‑ everything's been very inconsistent.

Q. I'm sure you remember a lot of things from your win seven years ago, but looking back now, can you share some of the most vivid of memories?
ADAM SCOTT: I really remember going down the 10th hole in the playoff strongly, from the tee shots walking down. You know, it was getting very late in the day. It was getting a little bit dark at that point. It was cool and it was raining. It was very loud.
It was a very‑‑ it was a unique atmosphere for me at that point to be in. It felt like it was really raw sports fans left out there, and that shows how much everyone loves the event because they stay out there and get wet and want to see it right to the end.
But I remember walking all the way down the 10th hole. It was so loud when we were walking that it was hard to talk to my caddie at a normal volume. So that whole experience down the 10th, I remember very well, and obviously then holing the putt to win. I remember most everything about that.

Q. You just played an event with a limited number of fans. How did you think that went? What can they do better, and what do you think is maybe the way forward to get more, to get more back out?
ADAM SCOTT: I have to say, from my point of view, it was fantastic to have some galleries out on the golf course. It makes a world of difference for me. So much more fun to play in front of people.
I think and I hope it all went down well, and I hope there's been no extra spread of the virus because of that. There's no evidence of that so far. So let hope nothing comes of that.
I don't have any answers about what to do about the virus. I really don't know, there have been so many different strategies around the world, and I don't know who is doing the right thing or wrong thing really. We just have to learn to live with it for the moment and fingers crossed a vaccine comes and that can be effective for the people who really need it.

Q. When you come here regularly, 12 green and 13 tee have been a place apart and quiet. Can you reflect on what that atmosphere has been like, and any memories being back there in the hunt or anything?
ADAM SCOTT: I think it's very obvious when you're playing the tournament and you get back there, you're in a quiet place and eyeballs are not on you. They can kind of squint down there and see the 12th green and see some putts fall in and you hear a distant roar maybe. Maybe even more so the 13th tee, as it gets tucked behind the trees, there's not many people down there.
You know, at times, depending on how it's going, I'm still back there and almost tried to gather myself, as you're in contention and you just have a moment to slow down and ‑‑ and think a little clearly of what now needs to happen the next six holes to try and win the Masters, and you get to take a breath back there I think.

Q. Just walk us through your initial reaction when you did test positive, and fast‑forward to you're here, and what it must be like for a Joaquin Niemann and Sergio right now. It's crazy timing?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, terrible.
Surprised. At the time I had no symptoms. So of course I was surprised. My symptoms developed about 12 hours after I tested, but they were very mild and only lasted for 24 hours. So in that respect, I was pretty lucky. I didn't have a bad dose, and I was‑‑ within 48 hours, I was feeling okay again.
So it is terrible timing, and this is‑‑ the silver lining for myself, and I was talking about it with Dustin, is we got it at a time where it meant we weren't going to miss the Masters.
But it seems like almost one guy a week, or maybe just a bit more, test positive, and there's going to be a couple here. I feel for Joaquin. I know he's played here before as an amateur, but maybe it was his first go as a professional. And certainly for Sergio, a past champion, it's got to be tough to miss out. I hope they are both just feeling okay, nothing serious.

Q. You mentioned the presence of galleries and missing them at major golf, in particular. Could you just describe a little bit what they do for you, maybe in a general sense, but even specifically here at Augusta, what that role has been and what you'll miss, whether it is a roar telling you something happened? What did you actually miss with them not being on this course?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it's the atmosphere that they create that makes the experience of just, firstly, teeing off. For me, the first tee at Augusta is most nervous I feel at any point during the year; that anticipation, usually the eight months of waiting from major to the next major, and it just being the Masters.
You know, walking to that first tee Thursday, the nerves are at an all‑time high, and that's because the eyeballs are on you and it's the buildup and it's what's been created over the years, those roars you talk about. You know what's going on. You know if it's an eagle. You know if it's a birdie. You know if it's for Tiger or possibly Phil, and that excitement.
When it's going your way and the crowd is on your back, learning to use that as a positive thing to keep going is fantastic. It helps with the drama on the weekend, certainly.
I mean, I think it's most noticeable when you go to a major on a Saturday and the atmosphere isn't there.

Q. That said, about knowing what's going on around you, will you have to pay more attention to scoreboards and look to see the numbers that are changing since you're not going to be getting any of those audible signals from around the course?
ADAM SCOTT: Probably. I mean, I look at the leaderboards, anyway. It's hard to miss them out there, to be honest. I don't mind glancing up at leaderboards. You'd be almost kidding yourself in normal circumstances if you didn't know what was happening around you here, because if you heard a roar, you can kind of put two and two together.
Yeah, I think the only time it's really important to know is down the stretch, and so I've always kind of looked at leaderboards and not really tried to hide and kid myself whether I'm in front or behind.

Q. Can you talk to the potential conditions of it being really wet this week as it might be? I know you've won in the rain. Does that help at all?

Q. What will that do, if it gets sort of really, really wet?
ADAM SCOTT: I mean, I've played some Masters when it's been quite cool and damp. Really, the biggest problem for us as players if it's wet, obviously we're prepared and we've played in tough conditions, but a golf course that requires precision like this one does, especially hitting into the greens, if there's mud on the ball, this is very, very difficult because you lose control of the ball flight. And when you have very small targets at times to hit into, and you don't know where the ball may go, it's very hard.
So you know, that will be the hardest thing for everyone. Everyone's got to deal with it, but it does‑‑ you get a mud ball at the wrong time at a course like this with extreme penalty, it can be very costly.
So that's the hardest thing we're going to have to deal with if it rains a lot this week.

Q. Do you have a good example of a place where there's no grandstands out there, even without the spectators, where that will be something you won't benefit from? Maybe there's a shot where you don't mind hitting it long because of the grandstand? Are there any that come to mind right away of that where now that comes into play?
ADAM SCOTT: Actually, just quickly thinking about it, and I can't whip through 18 holes, but I think Augusta National has done a good job of positioning the grandstands in locations that don't interfere with play too much, and, in fact, even the 8th hole, which the stand is behind the green, but it's 15 yards, I'd say, behind the green. So it's not often that guys are sailing it over there.
Often, they are positioned off to the side and far away, but obviously giving the galleries a good view still. There's not too many. Interestingly, I think the one left of 4 used to get a bit of action because it was such a long hole and occasionally you might double‑cross one off that tee. Other than that, I feel like they have been well positioned.
At the previous two majors, I really think it did make a difference, because some golf courses, it's hard to fit the stands in that they need to, and major championships get so many people that it's tough on space. And there are certainly tournaments week‑to‑week where you don't mind just firing straight at the back of the green and hit the stand and not get into trouble.
I like some of the stands being taken away and even the crowds, for example, at the U.S. Open, not trampling all the rough down. It was healthy all the way out, so the mis‑hits, they were punished as well as the ones that just missed the fairway.
THE MODERATOR: We hope you'll just be seeing fairways and greens this week.
ADAM SCOTT: That's the plan.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time and all the best.
ADAM SCOTT: Thank you very much.

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