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April 10, 2014

Adam Scott

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Like to welcome Adam Scott to the interview room after recording a 3‑under par 69 with five birdies and one double‑bogey.  Our defending champion is making his 13th Masters appearance this week.  He won his 10th PGA TOUR victory in August at The Barclays.
Before we take some questions, could you briefly take us through your round today?
ADAM SCOTT:  Would you like a hole‑by‑hole or would you just like my thoughts?
MODERATOR:  Whatever briefly you'd like to add.
ADAM SCOTT:  I was very happy with the way I played today tee‑to‑green.  It was really how you hope to come out and play at any major, and especially the Masters.  I was really solid.
I hit the one poor shot on 12, which obviously cost me a couple of shots.  But very pleased to get off to a good start, and there's no doubt winning the Masters last year had me a little more comfortable on the first tee than I've ever been in the past, because I didn't have the legs shaking and nerves jangling for six or seven holes like usual, so that was enjoyable for me today.  But I'm very pleased with my opening round.

Q.  No. 12 claimed quite a few people today.  What was making it play so difficult?
ADAM SCOTT:  It's just that back right pin spot.  I wasn't even paying attention to it and it got me‑‑ I wasn't trying to hit it over there.  But it was so little wind, it was probably a problem today, rather than when it's blowing all kinds of directions.
I just lost a little focus on that shot and didn't commit fully it and you paid a price on that one.  That was what happened to me.

Q.  The two par 5s on the back, you probably had some birdie chances.  Fair to say you left a few out there?
ADAM SCOTT:  It's hard to‑‑ I'm not going to complain about my round, but 3‑putting the 5s could happen here because you're not hitting it very close and the pin spots on both of them are quite difficult.  But it's disappointing to 3‑putt them both.  I would have maybe accepted one and a 2‑putt on the other.
Again, I feel like I'm playing really well.  More importantly was the par save on 18.  I think I felt like I played good enough to shoot in the 60s today, so that was a nice way to end the day and not walk off shooting 70.

Q.  What did you hit at 12 and was there ever a time on the flight that you thought maybe it would be all right?
ADAM SCOTT:  I hit a 9‑iron and yeah, I would have liked to think so, but probably not.  It was a weak shot.  Like I said, the only weak shot I hit, and it's actually the first time I think I've ever hit it in that creek.
So going to move on tomorrow and put it behind me (chuckling).

Q.  Could you give us a score report on how Matthew did today, especially after his nervous start and what did you say to him when you were walking to the second tee?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I think he played really well.  Obviously it was a nervous start, and I stood there and watched and thought, that's what I looked like many times playing the first hole at the Masters.
But he did hole a great putt for double‑bogey and that's exactly what I said to him.  I said, "Great putt, get going now."  And he calmed down and he birdied the next and he played fine.
It was really great to watch him play.  He swings so freely; it's nice.  He's going to develop into a really good player, I think.  He's got the credentials.

Q.  Could you describe in a little more detail the calmness and the difference between what it was before and your confidence now and how it ends up in your scoring?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I always said the Masters, the first few holes of the Masters is the most nervous I ever get on a golf course.  We've been waiting eight months to play a major championship, and then to get here, and everything about the place; it's hard to calm down after you get going.  Even if you get off to a good start, it's hard to calm down, let alone a bad start.
I certainly feel like I prepared very well for this event, and I was comfortable with my game anyway.  But having won last year, I think in some ways has taken a little pressure off me as I teed up today and kind of felt like what was the worst that can happen; I'm still going to be a Masters Champion (laughter).

Q.  You attacked the second and didn't pay off for you, and hit a great drive up 3; is it something that you're more free, hitting the big shots more free?
ADAM SCOTT:  In some ways, I'm swinging well, so I didn't mind taking on a couple shots and they didn't quite work out.  I'm kind of assessing everything and trying to play the percentages in my favor, and that's my kind of game.  Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't.  But I think if I keep hitting good shots over four days, more of them will work out.
You know, I think the par 5s are a big key for me here, and I didn't take advantage of them today and shot 69, so that's a good indication of the quality of my play today.

Q.  What is your record on Thursdays here?  You haven't been a Thursday leader before, I don't believe.  What does it mean to get off to this kind of start to the week?
ADAM SCOTT:  Getting off to a good start in major is huge, because I think they are the hardest tournaments to kind of chase.  Birdies aren't that easy to come by usually at majors, and if you're six back, five back, ten back after the first round, it's a hard three days in front of you to peg it back.  You almost have to play flawless.  So to get off to a good start is key.
I felt confident coming in today.  I've been swinging well.  Putting felt good.  So I fully expected to play a solid round of golf.

Q.  With Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods, the group of champions who have defended successfully, it's one of the most exclusive in all of sport.  Have you given any thought in quieter moments as to what it would mean to be the fourth member of that club?
ADAM SCOTT:  I haven't really.  It's been mentioned and it gets mentioned to every guy who is coming back to defend, I'm sure.  But an amazing group of guys, great champions.
But it's so much golf to play yet, I can't even think about it.  Just another good round tomorrow.  My goal teeing off today was to play three good days and get myself in contention and give myself a chance like I did last year.

Q.  You had a lot going on obviously leading up to this, Tuesday night, last night, talking about winning the Masters as much as you have in recent weeks, months.  Any relief to just get going now today?  Any feeling like that?
ADAM SCOTT:  The only relief was from the sense that I felt like I was playing well and I was ready for it to start.  Everything, talking about the Masters and winning is positive; doing the Champions Dinner is just a buzz.  It's all good vibes.  It's certainly not been draining on me at all.  I've tried to manage any extra energy I've spent, but it's not been very hard to do that.  It's really just been a thrilling week for me so far, and to go out and play in conditions like that today is just a treat around here.
So it's been a lot of fun and I don't think there's been any relief at all just to get going.

Q.  The whole history of the Masters is full of great players who had a 10‑ or even 15‑year run where they were on the leaderboard constantly and you weren't for years, and then the last three years you have been.  Do you think you are entering one of those periods, and why?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, I hope so.  I've felt in 2010 I finally had a level of comfort on the golf course and that carried me a long way the next year in 2011 to come back feeling like I could compete on this golf course after not doing well for quite a while here.
And since then, it's been a lot of good shots and some good, positive memories for me.  And I hope I get on one of those runs why I'm one of the guys who kind of develops an affinity for the golf course like Phil Mickelson has and many other guys have, as well, over the years.  I feel the course sets up well for me and while it's like this, I've got to take advantage of it.

Q.  Given that liberating feeling you've mentioned from winning here last year, when you make a mistake like you did at 12, is it easier to recover from that mistake because you know you never really have to worry about never winning a major again?
ADAM SCOTT:  Something like that.  That wasn't exactly going through my head as I was dropping the ball for a penalty stroke (laughter), but something like that.
I felt good anyway.  I was swinging well.  And I messed up there, but I felt I hit a good pitch and a putt and a 4 is not going to carry.  It didn't quite happen and I hit a poor putt.
There is; there is a certain sense of freedom in the way you play, I think, and no doubt you can see that in the way Phil's played around here since breaking through and hitting some incredible shots that maybe if he had not had the success or the wins, he might not have hit being a little tighter.

Q.  Was there a moment Tuesday night in the Champions Dinner where you sort of looked around, like how did I get here, or a conversation that stayed with you that was the one?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I had a great night, and of course, I looked around and got to see all the faces.  It's quite surreal.  It's the legends of the game of golf and I have a great appreciation for what everyone in there has done.
To sit next to Ben Crenshaw up at the head of the table and hear a little bit‑‑ I could have asked a million questions, but I didn't want to be too annoying to Ben.  But to hear how it's been up there over the years up there as he's kind of taken over the role as emcee from Byron Nelson and hear about all that kind of stuff is really great fun, and to listen to the little bits of history that he told when he spoke makes me look forward to it next year for sure.
But the whole experience and learning, I think you could see everyone's great respect for the place that evening looking around.

Q.  Were the pins unusually difficult today for a Thursday?
ADAM SCOTT:  They were on the tougher side, I think, yeah.  I wouldn't say ridiculous at all.  I thought the course was set up pretty tough today with the pin spots.

Q.  Did the course look any thinner with some of the damage from the ice storm?
ADAM SCOTT:  Barely.  Didn't hit it in the trees too much, so I didn't really get to find any gaps that wouldn't have been there last year.
The course is looking good to me.  Everything's in great condition.  The playing surfaces are the best I've ever seen.

Q.  One last question on the dinner.  Were you nervous about that and what impact did it have on your week on your golf having gone through that?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I was a little nervous.  I had no idea what to expect.  I didn't really speak to anyone.  A couple of the guys were winding me up, asking whether I had picked my song (laughter).  It's like, really?  I may be a little gullible (laughter).  That was pretty funny.
But I was; I had to speak, and that's certainly emotional, and I decided to be really short and sincere and not get caught up in it all.  But to address a room like that is a great honor.
It was just a lot of fun, the whole experience, and how welcoming they were to me and supportive.  The words they had to say about what I did last year meant the world to me.

Q.  You elected not to re‑tee on 12.  You decided to go and drop it.  What went through that reasoning?  Was it just a shot you didn't want to have to hit again?
ADAM SCOTT:  Definitely.  I definitely don't want whatever it was, 158 when I can have a 60.
Fortunately I've been working on my pitching so I went and found my 60 yards, which is a nice yardage for me, and went up and hit a really good shot to four for five feet, missed it.

Q.  How different was it today to feed off the fan reaction to you as the defending champ of the Masters, as opposed to any other wins that you've ever had?
ADAM SCOTT:  It was a thrill, really.  The reception into every green and almost every tee box was incredible, and the best one, the memory that will stick with me forever today was walking up to the 12th tee and everyone getting out of their seats as I approached there.  It was great.  The level of respect that everyone has for this golf tournament and what happens here, but then I went and hit it in the water (laughter).

Q.  Going back to the dinner, you were hoping that the champions would receive your menu will and enjoy the Australian food.  Was that the case?  And also can you give us an idea of what you did say to the champions when you spoke?
ADAM SCOTT:  I think it was received very well.  No one to my knowledge ordered anything off the menu, so I think I passed and I made sure to serve good wine so the wine drinkers were happy and couldn't have a go at me about that.  Yeah, lots of guys enjoyed the dinner.
All I had to say was really how grateful I am to the golf club here at Augusta National for everything that I've been able to experience in the last 12 months, and how everyone in that room has been an inspiration to me, and that was kind of it in a nutshell.  I probably rambled a little more than that, but that was about it.  It's quite hard to address a room with all the guys that you've looked up to forever.
MODERATOR:  Thank you, Adam, and good luck the rest of the week.

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