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May 7, 2008
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Adam, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center at THE PLAYERS Championship, our 2004 champion. You've already had a great season, and we've had a lot of young winners. Just talk about being back here after the good memories of winning in 2004.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, well, obviously ever since winning I've loved coming back here. I loved coming here before winning, but it's a pretty special place to win on TOUR. There aren't too many tournaments like it. You know, to get one under my belt here early was incredible, and the work they've done on the course the last couple years has been fantastic, and I'm very excited about playing this week. I'm in pretty good form, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Just on your PGA TOUR schedule, you haven't finished lower than 14th this year in a stroke-play event. Is this as good as you've played from a beginning of a season to this point in your professional career, taking the whole season into balance?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, until I won in Dallas, it was a little disappointing, because I felt like I've been playing well but not quite putting it all together, and I had a lot of good finishes but not quite at the top. I think Dallas just pointed out to me that I've been doing all the right stuff, and I just had to be a little patient for the results to come.
But I think it's turning out to be my most consistent season. I mean, 2006 I played really well for the year, a lot of Top 10s, a lot of Top 5s, and it feels kind of similar to me. So pretty consistent, yeah.
Q. When you show up at a tournament and Tiger is not in the field, do you approach it at all any differently knowing that percentages are probably a little higher, knowing that you guys can win when he's not here?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's pretty good. I came back from Australia to play in Dallas and figured he wouldn't be playing there, and he wouldn't be playing last week, and now this week. It's not bad. He's giving us a little bit of a break at the moment. Still, in saying that, there's so many good players here this week that I think your percentages are only just a little bit better.
Q. Would it have mattered if he was here this week? His record hasn't been that hot lately.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it always matters if he's playing. You've got to think he's going to have a chance.
Q. Not this week.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, maybe not this week, but I think he would.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about how much the expectations for your own career may have been driven up by winning THE PLAYERS here a few years ago and whether those expectations have been met, meaning your own expectations, not outside?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think they were most certainly driven up. Looking back on it, I was pretty young when I won here. I'm not sure. I think I do pretty well by my own expectations, other than the fact that I haven't won a major. I can walk along knowing that I'm living up to my own expectations. Whether they're your expectations or not, I think I'm doing okay. This week is THE PLAYERS. I'd like to win THE PLAYERS.
Q. You're up to No. 3 in the world now. Do you feel No. 2 is realistically within your grasp in the next year or so?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't know, I haven't looked at the points or anything.
Q. Well, just the way you're playing.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, yeah, sure. I think I'm on the right track. But you know, I was No. 10 in the world two weeks ago, so it's pretty volatile. At the end of the day, the only number that matter is if you're in the top 50 or No. 1, I find. So until either of those come into play, I'm not going to worry too much about the ranking.
Q. So how about No. 1?
ADAM SCOTT: No. 1 is not within my grasp in the next year, no.
Q. Do you find that since winning, when you come here, that folks respond to you differently as a past champion of this event?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think I get a lot of support here from everyone in Jacksonville. You know, I think they really get behind the guys who win here. That's how I felt, anyway. It's greatly appreciated, and I mean, it's such a great turnout. And everyone out there watching I think is having such a fun time, because it's a fun golf tournament to watch. It makes it enjoyable for us to play, I think.
Q. To kind of follow up on that, as you look back to before you were the champion, before 2004, did you ever sense any intimidation or was there any trepidation on your part, maybe not having the support of the crowd, just being another face?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I definitely think winning here had a big impact on the support of the crowd. I don't think they were against me, but maybe just another number out there for sure.
Q. Anthony Kim has had a lot of praise heaped upon him not only for winning last week but even prior to that. Can you relate a little bit to what he's going through, and could you talk about what you know about his game? Does he fit the profile of a guy who might be able to in the future live up to the expectations that are being put on him now?
ADAM SCOTT: It certainly looked like it last weekend. I mean, he looked great out there from the few highlights I've seen.
Yeah, I think just by the way he talks and what you hear, he's matured a lot in the last year, and his game obviously has, as well. You know, if he can take it mostly in his stride, he'll do well, and keep pushing himself. He's 22 years old, so he's still got a lot of time ahead, but expectations are pretty high on young kids with a lot of potential, I think, and definitely hard to live up to. But Anthony looks like he certainly has the goods physically.
Q. Are there many holes out here where length can give you separation?
ADAM SCOTT: Not really, no.
ADAM SCOTT: Maybe the 5th and the 7th, but I mean, that's such a little advantage, two holes that are par-4s. It's nice hitting a mid-iron into those greens, not a long iron. But I really can't think of -- most guys are going for the par-5s. No one really goes for the 9th; it's too risky. I think it's a pretty fair golf course that lets everyone in.
Q. Is that why you think we get such a variety of games that win here?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think this is one of the best tournaments, if not the best tournament course we play all year. From setup to the actual design of the golf course, I think they did a great job.
Q. Given the way they're setting up the course now and the time of year, that it's in a dry season here, is Greg's 24-under unbreakable at this course now?
ADAM SCOTT: Probably. I would say, yeah, probably. You know, the greens today are firm and it's going to be tough to get it close, if pins are tucked away; there's not much room to play with. 24-under anywhere is pretty good. Here, it's almost impossible.
Q. Is the scores you want -- with Phil last year at 11, is 10 or 11 the optimum? Is that the best we can expect?
ADAM SCOTT: I think so, and to be honest, I think that's a sign that a course has been set up really well. If the winning score is 8- to 15-under, I think that shows that it's set up pretty fairly and the best guy out here is beating par. And I think with the ability of the top players, I think that's probably what should happen.
Q. What's a safer record, 24-under here or 18-under at Augusta?
ADAM SCOTT: I think they're both pretty safe, actually. I don't think either of them are going anywhere (laughter).
Q. So is that answer. (Laughter)
ADAM SCOTT: Well, Augusta are making changes, so we'll see, right.
Q. Are they?
ADAM SCOTT: Apparently.
Q. Have you heard anything?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't know, I saw something that they're putting tees in, I don't know. So maybe 24 here will last longer.
Q. Can you compare how perilous -- compare the 17th hole with other perilous par-3s in terms of the mental and the physical stress that it has?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah. You know, just water is the easiest way to make a hole difficult. Some of the great par-3s that bring us undone every now and again are not always water holes. But the green is pretty generous out there, and really, when the wind gets blowing, that becomes when your mind starts taking over, and you know you've got to hit a good shot.
You can get away with it if the wind is not blowing, because there's a pretty big area out there for you to hit a 9-iron or a wedge or an 8-iron even. I had that one year where I was obviously right there with it all on the line, and it certainly gets a lot smaller in your mind at that point. It's a hell of a finish.
Q. How does that moment compare with others you've faced down the stretch in terms of how you felt over that shot?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's hard to remember. It's been a few years. But it was one I wanted to get over with quickly, and luckily, it was just a little downwind. It was a pitching wedge. And playing as good as you are, if you're not mentally strong enough to hit a pitching wedge on the green -- I think I was playing so good that week, it wasn't really too much of a problem. The 6-iron into 18 was a little bit of a problem (laughing).
Q. You mentioned, of course, a theme we've heard a lot, which is that this golf course lets a lot of players in and that can compete. Given that, is there a common denominator to players like you and maybe Davis or Vijay, guys that are sort of at the top in scoring average career-wise here, played more than say 15, 20 rounds, is there maybe one aspect that comes out that helps you?
ADAM SCOTT: Like knowledge of the golf course are you trying to say maybe?
Q. Yeah, or --
ADAM SCOTT: I mean, yeah, I think being a rookie coming here is pretty tough if you don't know the golf course. I think if you've played a lot of rounds out here, it certainly helps. Even though the changes have been made, I still think you have a good feel of the golf course anyway.
But I knew when I came here my first year, I was lost out there. I found it hard going. And yeah, I think guys with a lot of rounds under their belt and who have scored well here, yeah, they might feel a little more comfortable and it could be an advantage.
Q. Question about Butch Harmon. What quality or qualities about Butch is it that makes guys like you and Phil so successful?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, you know, I haven't been taught by anyone else other than my father and Butch. It's maybe a biased comment, but Butch has an eye for the golf swing like Tiger plays the game of golf. He just has that ability to see the golf swing.
And I think his best attribute, also, is his communication with the players; whether it's Phil or me or a guy who goes to his school out there, and I've watched him teach these 27-handicapers. He communicates with them so well that they can always understand what he's saying and get something out of the lesson. I think that's why he's such a good coach and that's why we do well working under him.
Q. Some of the golfers are saying that this course is in the best condition they've seen here and maybe all year long on TOUR. How did you see it and how good are the conditions?
ADAM SCOTT: I'd agree with that. The greens are spectacular. It's almost like those fake greens that are just like a carpet. It's in brilliant condition. You know, it stacks up with anything we've played this year.
Q. How is it compared to last year when it was kind of relatively --
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, much better. It's settled in a lot, the greens especially, and the surrounds of the greens have settled in a lot. They're rolling beautifully.
I mean, last year it was a little bit ropey.
Q. "Ropey," meaning?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, they were a little bumpy, maybe. They were brand new, right, last year?
Q. Yeah, relatively new. Were they slower?
ADAM SCOTT: Last year?
ADAM SCOTT: No, they were about the same. They were running out pretty good, even though they were a little bumpy. You know, I feel like they could cut them down. There's plenty of grass for them to cut them down this week if they wanted to.
Q. Would you like them to?
ADAM SCOTT: No. That would be a little scary out there.
Q. You made the cut on the number last week with a good putt; was it important to play on the weekend to get your game back to where it was in Dallas, or might it have been a blessing in disguise to have a break?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I hate missing cuts, and I wanted to play. I think it was a blessing to make the putt on the 18th, because I went out the next day and played really well, and I played pretty well on Sunday and stumbled over the line with a bogey on the last.
But I need today play. If I'm playing a tournament, I need to be there. I don't think missing a cut is a blessing too often.
Q. You mentioned this earlier, to turn the corner -- a few years ago -- with consistency, putting yourself there week after week, why is it so hard to do? I'm talking about the 20 something set. Why is it so hard to get to that stage where you're contending on a regular basis?
ADAM SCOTT: I don't know. I just think it takes a little time for people's games to mature to that point where they can. For a lot of years I watched the best players out here: Tiger and Phil and Davis and Ernie, and I'd play with them in practice rounds and tournaments, and they weren't playing that great. I'd look at them and think, well, they're not playing that great. But then come Sunday, they're right in the hunt. I'm figuring sometimes you can change a lot in a week, but a lot of times, I'd be out there playing with them Thursday and Friday, and it doesn't look great, but the scores look great.
I think not everyone learns that quickly out here, and I think Tiger obviously did, and we all thought we could do that, too. But that's just not how to happens.
Q. What did you learn?
ADAM SCOTT: I guess you learn how to score. If you can learn how to score, you can be in contention no matter how you're playing, because you're never going to really play that horribly that you can't put a decent score up.
JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Adam.
End of FastScripts