Should Adam Scott be mentioned in the same breath as golf’s elite stars? Absolutely he should be mentioned, but should he get comfortable in that breath?
I think not—at least not right now.
Adam Scott is an outstanding player who has the 2013 Masters, the 2006 Tour Championship and the 2004 Players Champions among his nine victories on the PGA Tour.
His swing, patterned after one of the early versions of Tiger Woods’ swing, is as good as there is in the game.
With a swing smooth, powerful and seemingly effortless, Scott has carried the pressure of representing his native Australia and becoming the biggest golf superstar from that country since Greg Norman.
Cameron Morfit, in a Golf.com story on April 14, described Scott as “a prodigy whose putting has never quite caught up to the rest of his game and whose results never quite matched his talent.”
Indeed, his putting woes forced him to a move to a long putter, a move that resurrected his game and made him the fourth major champion in a period of two years to win with a non-traditional putter.
Because of that long stick alone, including his name with the game’s elite becomes problematic.
Not because he won with the long putter, but because his continued use of that putter may come to an end as a result of a rule change expected by the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient that will outlaw any anchored putting stroke.
Will he return to a mediocre putter when he has to back to a standard putter?
Or now that he has the confidence, will it not really matter how he putts?
Scott’s game is at such a high level at this point that he’ll go into every major as a favorite.
He was at the Players Championship and was on the verge of contention every day, but never really got into the fray because his magic wand was missing its magic.
He’s a heartthrob to female golf fans and has a chance to be one of the most popular Masters champions ever.
Scott has a smoothness in his personality surpassed only by his swing and that will definitely be a help to him as he goes through these peak years of his career.
The man has been a money-making machine the past three years, earning at least $2 million each year, despite winning just three times in that time span.
He’s accomplished that by finishing second nine times and third eight times.
And while that’s great for the bank account, the elite players gained that status by winning and winning often. Scott has made 203 starts on the PGA Tour.
He’s made 160 cuts and finished 56 times in the top 10 and 93 times in the top 25.
All of the game’s greats in the past—Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Greg Norman—won lots of tournaments and lots of majors to earn their elevated status.
Tiger Woods has done the same.
The question now is whether Scott will pick up the pace in the number of wins and the number of big wins in order to have his name included in that special conversation.
And since he’s in his prime and Woods has rediscovered his game, perhaps Scott is the guy who is going to be “the next big rival” for Woods as he approaches his 40s.
There’s no one in a better position in the game to become that rival than Scott.
At age 33, there’s plenty of youthfulness left in him, but there’s also a great deal of experience.
Rory McIlroy has the youth, but has shown a lack of drive and the ability to handle the pressure at the top.
Scott didn’t handle the pressure in the 2012 Open Championship, where he squandered a four-shot lead with four holes, handing the title and the Claret Jug to Ernie Els.
But Scott won’t have much greater pressure than he did as he made his way through the back nine on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club.
He handled it in a championship manner and prevailed in a playoff against a game Angel Cabrera, enabling Scott to be introduced as a major champion (even though the Thursday starter at the Players Championship omitted that from his introduction).
Scott has one major title, but that’s not going to unlock the door that has the “Elite” sign on it. He’ll need more of those, as well as continued success in regular events.
Until he does that, Adam Scott is just a really, really good champion hoping to become one of the elite players in the game.