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March 19, 2014
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Adam Scott into the interview room here at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, making his 7th start at this tournament, the first since 2009.
Welcome back, Adam, your thoughts about being back at Bay Hill.
ADAM SCOTT: It's good to come back, actually. Interesting, I don't really remember the last time I was here, so it was a while ago. But I've watched the tournament over the last couple of years and also seen some changes going on on the course, so I thought it was time to come back and have a crack back at it. I think it's a course that suits me. And I've got someone on the bag this week with plenty of experience around here. I'm expecting to put myself in the mix and try to get myself into some pretty good form heading into the next month.
JOHN BUSH: Can you talk a little bit about the respect that you have for Mr. Palmer?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, we're all going to sit here and say the same thing. I'll say two things, one, the great thing about golf is, this kind of respect is passed down from all the guys to myself and I'm not going to say I'm an older guy yet, but eventually will be telling some younger guys about everything he did for the game and putting us in the media and on the map and making golf what it is today.
But he gave me an invite to play here when I was 20 years old, I believe. And I walked off the first green and he was sitting in the cart behind the green greeting some of the players. And he came over to me and he said, Adam, it's great to have you here. And I couldn't even believe he knew who I was.
But still his level of involvement in the game, and this was ten years ago or more, to now, is incredible and he's in touch with it and he's relevant and he's been a great leader for professional golf.
Q. It's been kind of a strange Florida Swing so far with the winners that have come out. Is this the week that the stars, the big names, maybe reassert themselves?
ADAM SCOTT: Hopefully this one does (laughter).
I don't know, I mean I think it's been a grueling few weeks in Florida. I was expecting Honda to be tough but then I didn't really know what to expect at Doral, but we will next year. It's tough. And obviously Tampa is a great track and can play tough when the wind blows.
The Florida Swing has been very difficult so far. I'm not sure about how tough we're set up this week. There's been a bit of rain so it softens it up. Hopefully I'm going to make a few birdies. I think I'm coming here to make a few birdies and kind of get the confidence up a little bit, see a few go in the hole.
But as far as unexpected winners, it seems to me more and more that's happening more and more in golf, there are more and more guys breaking through, putting in a lot of hard work and getting what they deserve.
So I think we've seen a bit of a shift in the game over the last couple of years, a lot less domination by top players, I'd say.
Q. If I could ask you a couple of things about another event. I wonder, it's been ten years since you won the PLAYERS and that has gone by pretty fast, I imagine it always seems that way. When you won that you donated the putter you used to their little display case. What was the reasoning behind your donation in that regard and what did that say about what you did that week?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think it's tradition that you donate a club. And at the time I holed a huge putt to win, so that seemed like the logical thing for me to donate. It was an important putt. It was kind of a dramatic finish. I thought that is what will be remembered. I don't know if I donated the wedge, which a lot of people seem to donate, because they're kind of in and out of the bag a little more than the putter. The wedge shot wasn't. If I hit the wedge shot to a foot on the hole on the last hole I might have donated the wedge, but I didn't. The putt was much more impressive.
Q. Is the use of the driver getting almost obsolete on that course?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think a little bit. It's not as much a driving or a driver course as it was. It's playing a lot firmer and faster and they've got a lot of run outs and areas where they're taking driver out of your hands a little bit more. In saying that I'm just thinking about the back nine quickly, still hitting driver off a few holes on the back nine.
It's a different golf course than it was when I won, that's for sure, and before that. It's had a few changes over the years, but all of these courses evolve naturally or not naturally, they're always changing like everything.
Q. What did you do with that 5‑iron?
ADAM SCOTT: The 6‑iron?
Q. The 6‑iron?
ADAM SCOTT: That's in the water with the ball.
Q. Two things, Adam, first of all, not that the excitement of winning the Masters had worn off at all since last April, but as we lead back up to it I wonder if some of the excitement has returned, the feeling of, again, of what you did last April and, I don't know, in any wayit's getting exciting?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's definitely getting there. I think I've been trying to not think about it too much. It is exciting. I think everyone is just excited to go there, whether you're playing or not, reporting, you know, everyone likes the experience of the week. We don't know what it's going to hold and it always produces something.
So I'm just trying to get through this week. I'd like to see my game work into a bit of shape and then I think it will be exciting for me going there feeling like I'm playing pretty good, who knows what can happen again. I still feel that way, but it's always nice to have a little bit of momentum. But I'm going to go up thereafter this week to have a little practice and a look, and it I think that's going to be exciting. I think I need to go back before the event kicks off and relive the stuff there. So that I can somewhat focus once I'm there to play.
Q. And just a follow‑up to Gary's stuff, with the anchoring ruling, are you going to ask for the putter back?
ADAM SCOTT: I might need to. It had some good vibes in it, that one.
Q. Two questions, one you've been to Japan, because of your contract, any favorite Japanese food when you go visit? Try any exotic Japanese food?
ADAM SCOTT: I have tried the exotic foods. Hard to say they're my favorite Japanese foods. I've tried lots of stuff.
Q. Anything specific?
ADAM SCOTT: My favorite meal or way of eating is shabu shabu. I like that very much. That's very nice. The sea urchin and other exotic delicacies are probably not my favorite. However, there are some that I do like. I like trying all the food. I like Japanese food.
I had a great experience there years ago at a sushi restaurant that's the best sushi I've ever had, and very‑‑ a more traditional sushi than probably what we're used to in Australia or other states.
Q. A more serious note. When you turned pro back in 2000 you took a path not directly to the PGA Tour or the secondary Tour here in the States. You took the path to the European Tour, Morocco, to winning in South Africa and Qatar. In those experiences traveling globally, one, why did you choose that path, and two, what did you learn all those years by traveling?
ADAM SCOTT: In some ways it was decided for me. I didn't have a PGA Tour card and in all honesty probably wasn't good enough to compete on a regular basis on the PGA Tour at that point. And that's meant no disrespect to the European Tour.
But there was some opportunities to play in smaller events there that weren't as strong fields that I guess I did take advantage of those opportunities and it was good‑‑ they're some of my favorite memories as a professional was playing the European Tour early days and traveling the world and gaining experience and gaining experience in how to compete and how to win, as well. I think going over there gave me an opportunity to win early like I did in South Africa and have that mindset that I can win at this level, even though it might not be winning the Masters, it was a big deal at the time, just to win.
It got me off on the right foot. I think it was a very good grounding for me as a professional.
Q. I was going to ask you in the 11 months since you've been presented with the Augusta green jacket, it's traveled plenty of miles. How pleasing has been the reaction when you walk into the room wearing that jacket? And there's still a few weeks to go, is there one place where you still want to wear the green jacket, that you want to sort of show it to before you get back to Augusta?
ADAM SCOTT: It always gets an incredible reaction if there are golfers in the room. If they're not golfers, they wonder why I'm wearing a very bright green jacket, I think (laughter).
But it gets an incredible response from golfers. It's iconic and it's not seen anywhere. There's only‑‑ apparently there's only one outside the gates at the moment. It's very rare that it makes appearance anywhere. I think I've seen them wear it maybe at the Asia‑Pacific Amateur when the members go over there or the chairman goes over there.
But there are lots of places I'd love to wear it that I didn't get the chance to. I think in Australia a lot more I would have loved to wear it. Up at Royal Queensland, but I didn't get the opportunity to, I had such a quick trip home, there weren't enough nights and there were a lot more places to wear it than I had nights up my sleeve. The only way to deal with that is winning again, I get to take it again around with me.
Q. You've kind of touched on this, you respect the history of the Masters and the green jacket, but you're going to move upstairs to the new locker room and the champions, and the dinner, have you thought about that experience? I know you've pretty much nailed down the menu. Are you going to look around the room and see Jack and Ernie, and the list goes on and on, have you really thought about that?
ADAM SCOTT: I think other than from just the playing standpoint of being able to play the Masters for the rest of my life and being able to somewhat relive in my head how I felt it all panned out winning the Masters, I think that's going to have to be the thing I look forward to most is that Tuesday evening and being able to spend time with this incredible room of golf's elite of history and future, that we don't even know about. I'll be asking them about Hogan this year. I'm fascinated to know‑‑ you don't often get a chance to spend time with these gentlemen who have played the game. And I'd love to know about that. I'd love to know about Bobby Jones and what their experience was. And I think I've got that to look forward to for a long time. And then even to share with the young guys in the future and see how they're playing the game. It will be great.
Q. There's a pretty stout list of guys playing their first Masters this year. You did very well in your first one. What are the secrets to handling that place for the first time and can a first timer win there again?
ADAM SCOTT: I think obviously experience and knowledge of the golf course is helpful. But it depends. If you go there and play well the first time I think you can. I think there are some really talented guys showing up for the first time that are confident and believe they can win. And they should believe that. And I think if you actually play well, you can.
I think I speak from my experience, after that first time I played pretty average for a few years and I found out all the bad spots to be in. I've started playing a lot more defensive than I did the first year. I played well, I hit it down my target, I gave myself a lot of chances. I made a few. And had a pretty good week. But then once you figure out where you're not meant to go, you can start playing away. You know big numbers are just around the corner if you go over there and you play a bit defensive, and you can't play like that, not in a Major, you have to play aggressive, even if you're playing away from the hole, otherwise you can get in real trouble. And I think that was just part of my learning experience, there.
I believe that‑‑ I don't know the whole list, but you can think of a few guys who are going for the first time, if they play well, they should think they can win. But it is nice to have a few years experience. And if you do get out of position know the way to recover.
Q. Who was your caddie that first year, do you remember?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it was a guy called Simon Heaney, Boomer.
Q. If you go, back, Adam, to‑‑
ADAM SCOTT: It was his first year, too, just for your notes.
Q. Go back to when you first turned pro. I recall you played a practice round with Tiger in Vegas before he went over to Pebble Beach. And if I remember the story correctly, you thought maybe about a second career at that point. Having watched‑‑ when you turned pro, having watched what he did at Pebble, winning all four, '02, all the way through, how do you think it's different for up the players now that are 20, 21, 22, just coming out with Tiger at 38? I know Tiger is still playing well, and he's No.1, but he's certainly not the player he was at 24 and probably won't be, just by age. What's the difference like for this crop of players who maybe don't have quite the presence of Tiger that you and Sergio and Charley Howell may have had?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it is different, for sure. I mean thinking back to that practice round or other rounds that I had with Tiger or even watching what he was doing on TV when I wasn't playing in events back then, it was clear he was doing things that other players couldn't do. And I don't just mean like his mental strength that no one else seemed to have that he did, somehow. We talked about that a lot. That was the 15th club in his bag back then. And I think that's‑‑ whether he learned that or whether that's just naturally in him, we don't know. But he's still got that. It's just that physically he was hitting shots no one else was capable of hitting. And I think that's changed with technology, for sure. There's no doubt about it.
Obviously he's older, but now everyone‑‑ I mean Tiger was‑‑ who was longer than Tiger in 2000? Was John Daly, maybe? Maybe. But now it's got Bubba hitting at 318 and everyone hits at 300. But not everyone could hit it that far back then. And he was able to hit big, high 2‑irons with a very small little bladed club. And now we have hybrids. And the game has moved, we're talking 14 years ago, and obviously everything moves on. It's a very different way to come out and see where the top of the game is now and where it was in 2000 when Tiger was more than double the World Ranking points ahead of second place.
Q. Easier or harder for him?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I don't think it's easier today. None of that means it's easier today. I think it's different. There's a different benchmark, maybe, that may not seem as high. But I think the depth of talent, that talent pool is much bigger now. And I can see maybe because that benchmark doesn't seem as high, a lot more guys are working harder to get there. Because more guys think they can. And I think the talent pool out here is really deep. It's very hard to win. A lot of guys putting in a lot of work. And that's been clear to me the last few years, seeing who is winning big events and doing well.
Q. Did you have aspirations of being No.1 when you turned pro and did you ever lose hope in those aspirations?
ADAM SCOTT: Absolutely. I dreamt as a kid to be No.1. And I thought coming out of school early and having some good results in professional events as an amateur, I thought this is what I'm doing. And I played with Tiger before that U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and I figured that I'm not even close. And then obviously saw the terror he went on for the next three or four years. And by that point pretty much put No.1 out of my mind. It was just clear that I didn't know how to get to No.1, if I had to pass him at that point. I just wasn't there.
And for the better part of ten years No.1 was kind of off the radar.
Q. When Tiger was on that terror, and you had to tee it up against him, not just you, but everybody, how much did that play with peoples' minds, especially in a Major, that he was there? Because of the issues that he's had, is that factor even there anymore?
ADAM SCOTT: It's hard to me to say, because I never really got in a position where I was contending in a tournament and he was contending, also. Certainly not in the Majors back then when he was winning those Majors willy‑nilly. But it was definitely a factor. I mean he had everything working in his favor to put you a couple shots behind when you're teeing off. Whether it was the way he was talking in the media that week. It's the presence around him. It was all well publicized and well‑known exactly what he was up to and how good he was and how good he is. He's still No.1 in the world. So I think it definitely played a part in it. I mean it was‑‑ and it's a fact, he's hard to beat if he's up there. The record speaks for itself.
Q. In the sudden absence of Tiger this week, is there any sense in the locker room of surprise of him not being here? And if so, is anyone saying, well, where does he go from here?
ADAM SCOTT: I've been in the locker room for ten minutes, so I haven't‑‑ I don't know what the scuttlebutt out of the locker room is this week.
But for me, it's not that big a surprise that he's not playing, obviously. It's now been two weeks, his previous two tournaments, his back's been bothering him. I'm sure his mind is set on being ready for Augusta. So it would just seem simple whether it's Tiger or Jason Day, Jason is trying to be able to play Augusta, he's going to have to get ready. And Tiger would be doing the same, I'm sure.
Q. You've got a chance to get to No.1 this week, depending on your results. In a few weeks you've got a chance to join a list of only eight players with two or more Majors, which would be more important for you?
ADAM SCOTT: Is that accurate, two‑‑
Q. Active players.
ADAM SCOTT: Active players. Right. I think both sound good, to be honest (laughter).
I don't know how you define which is more relevant to me. They're both amazing. I think there was some fun in going to Doral and having a chance to win and maybe go to No.1. And that's a huge motivator. It didn't really work out. Don't know how many of those chances I'll get.
So again, if that's the case this week, I'm going to be doing my best to take it because like I said, I mean, the well might dry up, and I might never have this opportunity again. And I spent ten years not even thinking about it. So to be No.1 in the world is a pretty incredible achievement in whatever you're doing.
But, again, I think that if I finish my career and I was on the list with two Majors, three Majors, if there were more Majors, that's something that I would probably hold a little closer than saying I was No.1 for a week. I mean it's hard to think of getting to No.1 and then it's gone for a week, and Tiger has been No.1 for 800 weeks or something. It kind of pales in comparison.
Q. Tiger's first run was only No.1 for a week, though.
ADAM SCOTT: That's a starting point. Let's get there for a week and then we'll see.
Q. According to the World Ranking, last 104 weeks you have played 42 events, that leaves 62 open weeks. It takes us through the‑‑ you have talked about how you wanted to lighten your schedule.
ADAM SCOTT: Do you think I did a good job of that?
Q. There is a player that played in 77 events, I'm not going to name a name, but‑‑
ADAM SCOTT: Is he playing this week?
Q. He is playing this week. Just curious to see, what goes behind the scene with Coach Malone in Bahamas, the hours in practice, Hogan said if you don't bring it, you're not going to find it for that particular week. How much work goes behind the scene just hitting balls, are you playing a lot or was it more a physical fitness thing that you do in off weeks?
ADAM SCOTT: It's all of the above. I like Hogan's thing, if you don't have it when you show up, there's not much chance you're going to find it. Sometimes it happens but in my whole scheduling and practice and everything that I've spoken a fair bit about I think over the last year or so, I try and not leave things to chance and not have it randomly be that I show up and play well. I try and make sure that happens. It's not a set‑in‑stone schedule, but I trained and I hit balls and I chip and I putt and I play golf on the course. And I try and do that four to five hours a day because I think that's a time period where I have to concentrate out here on the course, so I try to concentrate for that time period at home. There's no real formula, but that's been what's working for me, so I'm going to keep doing what I feel is best for me.
And certainly cutting the schedule down and upping the practice when I'm away and having that time to be ready for the events that I come out and play and wanting to improve my performance in every event but certainly the majors and the world events has worked so far. So I'm going to keep going with that theory until it doesn't.
JOHN BUSH: Adam Scott, thank you, sir.
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