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May 7, 2014

Adam Scott


JOHN BUSH:  We would like to welcome Adam Scott into the interview room.  He's making his 14th appearance at THE PLAYERS, and he is our 2004 champion here.  Welcome back to THE PLAYERS, and if we could get your thoughts on being here.
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, obviously I love coming back here.  I guess it's 10 years since I won.  I was just a kid and I didn't know how hard the game was, but it's exciting coming back here and I'm very motivated this week.  I've been playing some good golf and not getting the results I wanted, so here's a great chance for me to kind of get back up in contention again and hopefully pull off a win.  I feel like my game's in good shape and I've done some nice stuff since Augusta, so it's an exciting week, I think.

Q.  Elaborate on how that win 10 years ago is perhaps a blessing and a curse for you, in hindsight now looking back?
ADAM SCOTT:  Sure.  I think that I probably, interestingly, took the wrong things out of winning THE PLAYERS at a young age.  And completely on the other side I took all the right things out of losing an Open Championship and made the most out of it, and I didn't make the most out of winning this tournament at a young age.
I think inexperience and being a bit naive at that point probably worked against me and I didn't realize to keep going up to that next level how much harder I probably would have to work.  You just think it's all going to come along; everything did to that point in my career.  And I kept winning and playing good, but I never really performed like that on any other big event for quite awhile.
So whereas winning the Masters last year was a similar kind of thing, where I felt like I can't waste this chance and this opportunity and the momentum and confidence that gives me, and I think I did a good job of that.  So I definitely learned something out of my experience 10 years ago.

Q.  Do you like the change in the format for the playoff, and could you talk about those three holes?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, I think it's a good idea.  I think that's pretty exciting.  It's a pretty exciting three holes.  When it's head‑to‑head like that, I think anything can happen, and no matter what, there's going to be some drama.  Someone can play three great holes and probably win by a few, if it all goes wrong for someone else.
I think it's a good idea and probably feel a little more comfortable walking out there knowing you've got three holes rather than having to pick it up on 17 and it's all on one shot.

Q.  Because of a little math quirk this week, if you had stayed home you would have been No. 1 in the world, no matter what.
ADAM SCOTT:  See you later, guys.  (Laughter.)  Good to see you.

Q.  By being here you have to finish in the top 16.  Can you‑‑ you obviously knew that, so is being No. 1 something that you think a lot about, and how did that kind of quirk play in your thinking?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, to be honest I didn't know that, so I haven't been thinking about No. 1 that much, obviously.  Look, I'm here to win golf tournaments.  That's been the goal, and from that you can get to No. 1 in the world if you win enough, often enough.  I've had a couple good chances this year already and haven't been able to pull it off, not because it's been weighing on my mind, but I just wasn't sharp enough playing the last couple rounds at a few events.
So like I said, I think the work since the Masters has been good, and hopefully it's going to hold up this week.  I would love to win this golf tournament and ascend to No. 1 that way and not just look for a position to do so.

Q.  Can you describe the atmosphere at 17, and also in the years that you've played in this tournament, has your approach to the way you play 17, has it changed?
ADAM SCOTT:  The atmosphere is one of the great ones in golf.  Some guys don't like that hole being 17, but I do.  I think that it makes some of this tournament what it is.  I think this is a great golf course, a great tournament course.  It's exciting, and it always provides excitement.
So the atmosphere is rowdy, to say the [lease|least], on 17, especially late on the weekend.  You can feel the energy out there, and you can't block out what's on the line if you're playing in that kind of position.
As far as the approach to playing it, I think conditions determine that a lot, but the middle of the green is a pretty good spot to go at any point.  I think that we would all walk off there pretty happy with four 3s from the middle of the green and go to the 18th tee this week.  It's a good risk‑reward hole, though, because there are slopes that help you funnel it into the pin, and it is a big green overall.  I think they did a good job with that hole, and I think it's an exciting finish to this event.

Q.  If it's more advantageous to stay home to get to No. 1 than to play, is there something wrong with the way the world rankings are set up?
ADAM SCOTT:  It's just the way it is, I guess.  It's a very hard system to perfect, I think.  With tours all around the world, people playing everywhere and awarding fair points for everything, I think they have come up with the best they possibly can and they have been fairly accurate over the years.  Of course there's always the odd one that doesn't quite make sense, and potentially this week if I sit at home and watch everyone, I might end up No. 1.  I mean, that's a bit odd, but it's a complicated system.  I think that the rankings are pretty fair overall is my view on that, and obviously playing THE PLAYERS means more to me than sitting at home just to get to a No. 1 world ranking.  Then again, I think that it's probably less reflective‑‑ like I said, I would like to win to go to No. 1.

Q.  You mentioned kind of making the most out of the [loss|lost] at the Open Championship, and just curious as you kind of look back on it, what did you take out of that most specifically?  And secondly, do you think you would maybe be still in this position you are in now or playing the type of golf you are now having not gone through that?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, I took all the positives out of the Open Championship, which you try and do every week, but obviously maybe when it's as dramatic a loss as that, it's harder to do, but I just finally played the way I wanted to play in a the majors and the big events for the first time probably since THE PLAYERS.  I focused on those 68 great holes where I felt like I really controlled the event and the outcome was up to me and it didn't work out, but I took all those good things and just put it down as part of the process to me becoming the best player I could be.  That was the big goal in my mind.  The big goal wasn't about the result at the end of the Open Championship, that just kind of falls into the process and you just keep pushing yourself.
So after a couple days probably of moping around, you just have to get on with it and understand that it's going to be part of my career and I'm going to get chances to go back and hopefully win an Open Championship one day.  But I had to get on with the next event and try and get myself ready for that and push myself along.  I didn't want that to be my legacy as a guy who [loss|lost] The Open Championship; I wanted to make up for that and luckily I did, so it was good motivation.
I think that everything I've done plays a part in the golfer I am today, so I would have to say I probably wouldn't be the same if it didn't happen.  And it definitely had a big impact on it.

Q.  Whether it's here or Augusta or anywhere else, how quickly do you notice that the room has a different feel without Tiger, and do you look upon it as a greater opportunity for you to win when he's not at an event?
ADAM SCOTT:  There's no doubt, he plays a huge impact on the feel of a golf tournament, that's for sure.  He is obviously the No. 1 player in the world and one of sport's biggest people in the world.  So the tension he draws is massive, from gallery to media.  So it's obvious when he's not around, I think.
I don't know, I don't see it as just a wide‑open opportunity to have a chance because he's not here.  I think that there are so many guys winning events now that you've got to look [pass|past] just No. 1.  He won five times last year and that's a lot, so obviously in a way it's one contender that you don't have to deal with, but the list is long here this week and other guys are going to play great and I don't see it as being as simple as the field versus Tiger.

Q.  Did you sort of spend much time after your Masters events reflecting on what you did that week?  And also looking ahead to the U.S. Open, are you looking ahead to the U.S. Open and will you be tempted to go up there early?  And then final part of my question is, where would Pinehurst rate as sort of your favorites in terms of the courses used on the U.S. Open rota?
ADAM SCOTT:  A lot of questions, Bernie.  (Laughter.)
Yeah, I was pretty annoyed at myself after the Masters, I have to say.  Saturday was so disappointing to kind of lose my momentum and not get it back.  I maybe was a little too comfortable going out Saturday, which I sometimes feel is a curse of mine.  I get quite comfortable even bogeying a few, I had done that the year before and managed to get it back and I just didn't.
Really, the only thing I can nitpick out of the Masters was my long‑range putting.  My speed wasn't as good as I would have hoped and that cost me shots, certainly over the weekend but also the first couple days.  So I was frustrated with that, because I felt like I had really prepared really well and put myself in a good position through two rounds.
So it was easy for me to get back out and practice after that and get my head into this.  I haven't thought too much about the U.S. Open other than planning to go up a couple times early, hopefully, and have a look at the golf course.  I played there in 2005, and I think we have got a completely different golf course this year.  I enjoyed it in 2005, but I'm really excited to see what they have done up there.  I've managed to speak with Ben the other week about it a little bit and I think it's going to be a fun event to play, conditions being right.  It's going to challenge us maybe in different ways than it did before.  But it's a big, strong golf course and everything a U.S. Open asks for, and I'm motivated to go there to play well because my record in the U.S. Open isn't that stellar and I would like to start turning that around.

Q.  When you look back on winning here in 2004 and you say you did some things wrong, can you give us a couple specific examples of things you would have done differently now?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, it's not necessarily that I did things wrong, it's more that I just didn't do some things, I think.
When things are going good, and you're 23, it's pretty easy to cruise along and you just expect to keep getting better, but to a point that's true, except when you're talking about trying to get to a top‑5 player in the world and win the biggest tournaments and your game withstand that kind of pressure.  I don't think I had a very good understanding of exactly what I needed to do to do that on a consistent basis.  I showed up here and played great that week and it held up, but you can pick any other big event for the five years around that time, and it didn't.
So I just didn't have the best plan in place.  I went through the motions and did all the practice, but maybe it wasn't intense enough, there wasn't a narrow enough focus on exactly what I had to do, and thinking back to that time you've got a guy who was maybe the most dominant athlete in the world putting everything he has into it, and I just didn't have a great understanding, I think, of what was required to be at the best in your field at that point.

Q.  How is the course playing compared to other PLAYERS in May as far as firmness and rough and things look that?
ADAM SCOTT:  Well, it's pretty soft out there the whole way through.  Obviously some rain last week has softened the fairways and there's no doubt the greens are soft and they have been doing some work to keep them as healthy as possible.  So the course is playing soft and there's potential for some good scores in good conditions this week.
The rough's up in some areas, which will make it tough to scramble, but if your game is on, I think a good score is out there.

Q.  A few more drivers?
ADAM SCOTT:  Yeah, potentially.  There are holes where even downwind, because it's a bit soft you could still probably hit driver and move it down there.  Even I think a hole like 18 was downwind yesterday and you felt comfortable hitting driver, that it wouldn't run out, that there was enough room to hit it.  And just having a wedge in is a lot different than maybe having a 6‑iron in.  So potentially there's some more drivers this week.

Q.  Going back to the No. 1 ranking, this has been a discussion topic since Kapalua the first week of the year, are you at the point now where you want to get there just so we can stop talking about it, just so you can stop answering questions?
ADAM SCOTT:  I don't think it's quite at that point for me.  It's only been a couple months.  It's not a bad thing to have to discuss.  I hope I'm keeping myself in a similar kind of position for awhile.  But I haven't really thought about it too much.  I'm really just into the process of trying to get my game better all the time.  Pretty much wins takes care of all the rankings and all the questions and I'm really focused on getting myself in contention this week.  It would be fun to play here in contention on the weekend.  It's one of the most fun events as a player to come to.  It's an important event and it's been a focus of mine from the start of the year, once you get through the Masters, then you got to get your head into thinking about THE PLAYERS.  So hopefully I'll take care of it this week and you won't have to ask me anymore, but it's not the biggest burden to answer.

Q.  We're a year and a half away from the ban on anchoring; how much do you think about it, and at what point do you think you need to start thinking about it, and do you find such questions to be insulting?
ADAM SCOTT:  No, I don't think about it much at all.  You're getting a theme here:  I don't think a lot.  (Laughter.)  No.1 or anchoring.  There's a whole lot of nothing going on up in here.  (Laughter.)
But I'm treating it as not a big deal to me.  I think I can figure out a pretty good solution.  There are a lot of options available, and I think I can pick one up pretty quickly, just like I picked up the long putter and anchored it.  It didn't take me long.  It wasn't a big transition.  So I think I can go to some modified style or a shorter putter or something and be okay.  So I'm not thinking about it a lot.  I'll do it at the end of next year and it's not insulting at all, Doug.  Thanks.
JOHN BUSH:  Adam Scott.  Thank you, sir.
ADAM SCOTT:  Thanks.

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