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April 3, 2007

Adam Scott


CLAUDE NIELSEN: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to welcome Adam Scott to his sixth Masters appearance. A couple of highlights; recently he is the winner of the 2006 TOUR Championship; Adam finished third on the PGA TOUR Money List; fourth in the Official World Golf Ranking and defended his title in 2006 at the Singapore Open in Asia; a four-time winner on the PGA TOUR b and seven international crowns; captured the 2004 PLAYERS Championship; and of course last Sunday he was the winner of the Shell Houston Open by saving par out of a water hazard an 18.
Welcome, Adam, and give you an opportunity to make any remarks you'd like to.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, actually it is my first time in the media center here in Augusta, which, and that's a little disappointing considering I've been here five years.
It's nice to be back here and obviously I'm feeling pretty good coming here after a win last week in Houston.

Q. You started the year out really well and then took a really long break. As you look back on that, why did you need the break, and did you think -- would you do it again?
ADAM SCOTT: I think at the time I needed the break. One, because I had been playing a lot of golf, and I saw the schedule this year coming up from about this point onward, it's full on through September, not much break. I thought, one, I needed that. I think I just needed to get away from it for a little bit and kind of recharge the batteries.
So, you know, I was getting a little concerned after Doral that maybe it was a bit of a long break and, you know, I worked hard the two weeks before Doral and didn't see any of the results there, but obviously it started coming together last week.
I think I've done all right now. You know, I just needed to put the hard work in after having five weeks off.

Q. Could you just talk a little about the rise of the international players and the globalization of the game as you've seen it during your time on Tour?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think probably since I became a member in the U.S., each year it's been more international players joining the Tour. Certainly the Australian contingent grows stronger every year. We're seeing players out of Asia; K.J. (Choi) and now Yong-Eun Yang, you're seeing him over here. I think it's not only the PGA TOUR growing strong, but the other tours growing stronger and that's through golf becoming more popular. Obviously I think Tiger takes credit for a lot of that. But I think the rest of the guys out there also are great ambassadors for the game of golf as well and that's why we're seeing golf growing in all regions around the world.
Eventually all of the great players are going to be coming to the U.S. to play, because this is the strongest tour and the best events, and that's where every great player wants to test himself.

Q. Is there anything that Americans can learn from the way Australians develop young players?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think you have great systems over here with college and also I know there's a couple of academies around the place, a lot better academies, which are very similar to the Institute of Sports in Australia.
You know, the one great thing about golf in Australia is golf is very affordable for juniors. You know, it's under $100 a year to be a member at a golf club. Range balls are free pretty much for juniors. They are taken care of well, and we have got good junior programs in place. I came up through the Greg Norman Junior Golf Foundation, and we played competition every couple of weekends. We had a tournament and a big event at the end of the year.
Then you move onto an Institute of Sport which is funded by the government, so there's a lot of support coming from all different areas of the community; and to have the government supporting golf is obviously important as well.

Q. Henrik Stenson seemed a little uncomfortable with his ranking being so high when he got all the way to five; how do you feel about being three?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, you know, I don't really pay too much attention to the rankings, other than, you know, like they said, No. 1 is the spot you want to be in; that's the important one.
But I've been ranked in the Top-10 for the last couple of years now, so, you know, I certainly feel comfortable being ranked in the Top-10 in the world.

Q. Can you explain just how big the Masters is in comparison to other events, particularly for Australia; we've heard it called the Holy Grail.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, for an Australian it's probably the Holy Grail of golf right now. No one's managed to win yet.
It is. I think it's probably golf's elite tournament. It's just so hard to qualify for, and that's what makes it the Holy Grail, also. Just to get here is an achievement in itself.
You know, it's the only major golf event that stays at the same venue every year, and I think that also makes for part of the mystique of the golf tournament as well.

Q. Could you analyze your first five years here at Augusta, and if you put your finger on any parts of the game that have held you back or kept you from getting the results you would like to have here?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, the first year was good; I played well. Maybe I didn't know what I was getting into.
But I think probably after that, I played a little too defensive around here and worried too much about the results of bad shots.
Last year I took the attitude of playing a little more aggressive and free-wheeling it a bit, and I didn't play great, but certainly saw something that I had not had here before last year by just going out there and playing golf and not worrying so much. I just didn't really execute last year.
Hopefully this year I'll play a little better and take that free spirit out on the golf course and see what happens.

Q. Do you have a relationship with Greg Norman? Do you talk much? Has he ever shared anything about Augusta with you?
ADAM SCOTT: I think my first year here was the last time Greg played here. That was great for me and I got to spend a couple of days with him out here.
I have talked to him a little bit in the past about Augusta. I actually was staying at his house one year when he was playing in the tournament before I was in it. You know, I look back on the practice round I played with him here as one of my fondest memories of the game; for me to be out here playing with my hero and everything that I had watched on television of Greg Norman at Augusta was pretty special.
You know, he pointed out little nuances of the golf course and ways to tackle holes. But not lately I haven't really spoken to him that much.

Q. That was in your first year here?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, he's not playing so much on Tour so we don't really cross paths that much anymore.

Q. Did you live and die with his near misses here?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, one of my first memories was '87, and my parents let me stay off school Monday morning to watch the end of the golf. Being a golfing family, we all were heartbroken when that happened.
More recently obviously in '96, I was 15 or 16, and I think the whole country stopped to watch Greg play that day. I mean, it is a big deal outside of the golfing community in Australia when Greg Norman was playing at Augusta. You know, that was heartbreaking to watch. Obviously the whole country felt for him I think.

Q. I was going to ask, what have your results been like a week after winning a tournament?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't really know. I mean, sometimes I haven't played the week after. A lot of the time, I've had weeks off.

Q. Are you one of those guys who feeds off winning and your game gets going or does it take a bit out of you?
ADAM SCOTT: I think in the past, I mean, after THE PLAYERS, it was a big letdown because I played poorly the next two weeks. It would have been nice to carry a little momentum going. I like playing three or four weeks in a row; I certainly feel like I pick up momentum. Hopefully it hasn't taken too much out of me.

Q. Just going back to '96, Geoff was in here yesterday and said, you know, he remembered it and he went out and practiced harder than he ever had in his life that day and he was just so determined to never let something like that happen to him. Did you vow anything or did you do differently that day; were you so annoyed or fired up or what?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think there was a bit of disbelief for a while there. That's the effect that Greg had on all kids back in Australia. He was a motivator for us, absolutely. If he won or lost, we just wanted to be Greg Norman and get out there and play golf.
I think that was one of the great things about having him as a role model, was he inspired everyone, whether he succeeded or failed to get out there and play golf. I didn't make any vows that day, but, you know, I certainly was inspired by him.
Again, I think the thing I remember most from that was how he handled himself afterwards. I think he handled himself very well considering what he had been through. So that was impressive.

Q. Geoff Ogilvy also said yesterday that the constant questioning of when an Australian is going to win Masters probably doesn't help; do you feel that added pressure going into this to break the Australian drought and be the one who does it?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I think Geoff is probably getting that question more than me.
It's going to happen eventually, hopefully, but certainly to be the first Australian to win the Masters would be a bit of -- it would be a dream come true, and I think there's no doubt we have enough talented players here to warrant that question being asked, because I think any one of us could do it.

Q. It's Tiger's ten-year anniversary of his first major win. As a guy who growing up was too young to really follow him, but came on the Tour kind of in the middle of all of the changes that he caused, do you ever talk to guys about what it was like before Tiger caused all these changes?
ADAM SCOTT: Of what the Tour was like?

Q. They change courses for him; the technology is different because of him; the money obviously, the exposure, the crowds, about what it used to be like.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, no, I mean, I haven't really spoken too much about them. I had never obviously played here before the changes were made.
But, you know, a lot of guys have seen dramatic change. I've seen dramatic change even in the six, seven years I've been a pro. But for a guy like Fred Couples who has been out here 25 years, it's amazing to think of the changes that he's gone through.
I think generally everyone's pretty happy with them really.

Q. I'd like to know what specifically are you working on in your game to prepare for this course.
ADAM SCOTT: This course demands so much out of you. It's a long golf course now, so driving is important. Positioning your iron shots in the right spot is important, so you've got to be pretty sharp with your irons. And then obviously maybe the real secret is the short game; if you can navigate your way around the greens with a wedge in, you're going to have a good week. And I think that's the area that I'm really looking to get in tune over the next two days, is chipping and putting.

Q. What have you learned about what it takes to succeed at major championships the last couple of years, and are you more patient with yourself than some people are with your performance in major championships?
ADAM SCOTT: I think I'm definitely more patient with myself than other people are.
You know, I've learned a lot from Geoff the last couple of years actually. It's interesting, we talk a lot and we're good friends, but I started playing in the majors pretty early on in my career. I've played in a lot of them now; whereas Geoff, he had played in a couple early on in his career, but he wasn't in them all. The last couple of years he has been, but he was a much more mature player when he started playing in them and I think he had a lot more self-belief than I did when I was 20 playing in majors.
Geoff's mind-set was they are the easiest tournaments to win; whereas when I was 20, I thought I had no chance of winning, and these are the hardest tournaments to win, even though I dreamt of winning them.
You know, just feeding off Geoff's mind-set a little bit has certainly helped me in the last year or so, yeah.

Q. Have you got to the point where not winning a major has become sort of a bugbear or are you just sort of sanguine about it?
ADAM SCOTT: Not at all. If every other 26-year-old was out here winning majors, I'd be annoyed, but that's not the case. It's something that I would like to happen sooner rather than later, but I think you've got to be a little patient with this, too.

Q. Tiger and Phil seem to have put up a bit of a blockade on this tournament, five of the last six years winning it. As a player you have to think about playing the golf course, but does that enter into your mind a little bit, like how am I going to possibly get through that?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, they have obviously figured a way to get around this golf course well. And confidence is such a big thing in the game of golf; they must be confident with their performances here. Not only Phil won it twice recently, I think he's finished in the Top-10 every year for about ten years. He must feel great out here.
You know, that just helps them going into the tournament. But there's nothing I can do about it; nothing I can do about the way they are feeling. All I can control is myself and the way I feel. You know, if I'm playing well and feeling good about my game, there's no reason why I shouldn't beat them this week.

Q. How does Geoff explain that he thinks it's the easier tournament to win?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, he explains it like it's a matter of survival almost. You just have to kind of hang around. You don't have to do anything that special for three days. You just have to hang around and then Sunday is the day where you really find out what happens.
You know, so often as happens, 50 percent of the field in contention on Sunday goes the wrong way, and there are only a few guys going the right way.
He just feels like he doesn't have to shoot 20-under; it's not just a putting competition, either. It's just about being solid and being in contention. And look what happened to him last year. He hit a great chip on 17 and gets up-and-down and everyone stumbled over the line, and Geoff's in and he won the U.S. Open.
I think that's not a very clear explanation, but his mindset is, you know, so many people are beaten before they have even started the tournament, and I think that's kind of a position where I was when I was younger playing in them. I didn't really have the self-belief that I would be there on Sunday.

Q. You thought you had to do something heroic?
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely, yeah. Whereas now, I think my game obviously, I'm a different golfer than I was then, but I can just get myself into that position for Sunday and then on Sunday, okay, it's going to be a tough day out there. But it can happen without any real heroics.

Q. So just somewhat following on from that, do you think if you look back at your time here or throughout the majors, do you feel that if you were putting better or had a tighter short game, you might have won one by now, or is that the only thing you feel has let you down --

Q. -- or has it been just long game?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I don't think it's necessarily the physical part of the game at all. I think it was more the mental approach to the majors. I felt like I had to play better than I've ever played before to win one of them, which I think is more getting to what Geoff thinks about, is he doesn't have to play 110% to win the U.S. Open. Geoff putted great that week obviously, but if you ask him, he'd probably say he was at about 80 percent and he was not entirely happy with everything, but he was smart, stayed within himself all week, and at the end of the week he was on top.

Q. Is that the same for Tiger?
ADAM SCOTT: If you look at him he does it every week. Only a few weeks of the year, you feel like you have everything, and you have to take advantage of those and that's what Tiger does, but the rest of the time he manages himself so well he ends up winning them well anyway.

Q. Do you enjoy the hullabaloo that follows him around, or is it a different challenge of playing with somebody else?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. It is enjoyable. I think it's something that you have to get used to. I played with him on a Saturday a few years back, and by the end of the round I was getting a little too caught up with what he was doing. By the end of the round, I was playing average and he was back in contention and you could feel the crowd getting behind him and spurring him on because they wanted to see him keep going up the leaderboard.
I've actually played quite well when I've been paired with Tiger in the past. I enjoy it and, you know, I find it more of a challenge to myself to play well in front him, and that's kind of how my mind-set is going about it.

Q. So the distraction --
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely I get fired up to play with him. To go out head-to-head with the best in the world is what you want to do. I think I've played quite well with him in the past.

Q. Just on Tiger and Phil, why does the competitive gap between them appear to be closest here, as opposed to anyplace else?
ADAM SCOTT: Like I said, I think Phil has kind of figured a way to play this golf course well. Maybe that's his imaginative short game that helps him out so much more here. I'm not so sure what it is. But whatever he does here, he does it right, and that brings him maybe that little bit closer to Tiger. Obviously Tiger's mastered it as well around here.
Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it; that it is maybe a little bit closer here than anywhere else. But they have just got it figured out. They have figured out their own little secret to playing this golf course.

Q. A lot of people who are fans of Greg Norman were fans of his because of his aggression and daring play on the golf course. Is that one of the things that attracted you to him, and like you said earlier, do you think you need to be a little bit more like Greg to succeed here sometimes?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I certainly was attracted to his style of golf. I grew up modeling myself off him in every way. I was swinging like him with a big, you know, whip over the shoulder, follow-through and bounce-it-off-the-back kind of stuff.
He played really aggressive golf, and I think that won him 80-something tournaments around the world and probably cost him a few tournaments, too. So I try to take the good out of that and put in into place at the right time.
You know, there's a right time to be aggressive and a wrong time, and, you know, it's about controlling your aggression, and if you can play with controlled aggression, I think that's what you see Tiger do so well. That gives him the ability to shoot in the low 60s. But also in doing that, he might have to hit a way from a flag on a hole because he knows that's not the time to get after him.
CLAUDE NIELSEN: Adam, thank you for your remarks this morning and good luck.
ADAM SCOTT: Thank you very much.

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