Adam Scott is not only very good but very lucky as well.
The word "lucky" is not used in a derogatory sense. It just as easily could have been “fortunate” instead.
When the stylish Australian fell apart in last year’s Open Championship—a crash that wiped out a four-shot lead with four holes to play—his hunt for that elusive major championship victory continued.
That crash made Ernie Els a very happy man but just added to Scott’s list of major disappointments and raised questions about whether he'd ever win a major.
That’s where the lucky/fortunate part comes in. He had a respectable finish in the PGA Championship last year, finishing in a tie for 11th.
But somewhere between there and the Masters in April, something clicked for Scott, and he won at Augusta National, withstanding the fierce Sunday afternoon back-nine pressure to do so.
To make it even sweeter, he had to go to a sudden-death playoff to defeat Angel Cabrera.
Scott was fortunate in this way: He snapped back quickly after having his heart ripped out at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last summer.
And now, with the clock ticking toward this year’s Open Championship at Muirfield, what is to be expected of Scott this time around?
Based on how he responded so quickly and so well from last year’s heartbreaker, I’m thinking we can expect big things from him in a couple of weeks.
It’s true that Scott does not exactly have a rich history in the Open Championship, having teed it up 13 times with a pair of top 10s and three missed cuts.
The other results would best be characterized as mediocre, but those are pre-Masters results.
While his last two starts on the PGA Tour have been unremarkable (ties for 45th and 57th), the man now knows what it takes to win a major.
"Especially after the U.S. Open (the tie for 45th), I feel a result is needed, just some kind of result to keep the confidence high and move over to Europe feeling like I'm ready to compete,” Scott said before competing in the AT&T National last week, where he finished tied for 57th.
"I want to contend. It has been since the Masters that I've not really been in contention, so getting those feelings would be nice again."
Getting the feelings back and his game back to where it was in early April would go a long way toward him getting his hands on the Claret Jug he thought was his last July.
"I'm really looking forward to going back and trying to get myself in a similar kind of situation, a chance to win the Open," Scott said. “The hardest thing is going to be curbing the expectations right from the start and just kind of building my way into that position. Every tournament, I feel, is an opportunity for me now, even more so after winning the Masters, to just build on this."
Despite being 107th in driving accuracy percentage and 101st in strokes gained-putting, Scott is averaging 69.624 in scoring, which is fifth-best on the PGA Tour.
There’s no doubt about it: If he’s going to contend this year, he’ll need to improve in both of those statistical categories.
His knowledge of how to win a major is invaluable at a venue like Muirfield, which can play as difficult as any of the great old courses that make up the Open rota.
This year’s event will mark the 16th time the world’s oldest championship will come to Gullane, East Lothian, Scotland.
High expectations, possibly fearful conditions and great history await the field.
For Scott, throw in some great memories of a year ago, some head-scratching decisions and four poor results in a row, and the man from Down Under has plenty to think about when he tees it up in a couple weeks.
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