Adam Scott can place himself in prestigious company by claiming his second green jacket in as many years at Augusta National.
A year after winning his first major tournament at the Masters, Scott can prove his victory was no fluke by making it two in a row—a feat only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have accomplished. After one day, the 33-year-old Australian's quest for a repeat remains well and alive.
Through his opening round on Thursday afternoon, Scott earned a three-under 72 on the day, placing him near the top of the leaderboard.
He enjoyed a great start, leading the field through 10 sensational holes at four under.
He then met some trouble on the dreaded Amen Corner, posting a double-bogey on the 12th hole. According to ESPN Stats & Info, no golfer has rallied from a double-bogey at Augusta.
Yet, the defending champion did not hurt himself much with his only bogey through 18 holes. Phil Mickelson's triple-bogey on the seventh hole certainly helps his cause, and Rory McIlroy offset four birdies with three bogeys to finish just one-over.
A quarter of the way into the Masters, Scott is in line to join a short list of back-to-back Augusta champions, which should cement his claim as one of—if not the—premier golfers going forward.
Scott's playoff victory over Angel Cabrera put him on the map in 2013. One year later, he is now a much more common name and not always mistaken for the actor. With two PGA Tour wins and nine top-10 finishes since 2013, Scott has vaulted to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings behind Tiger Woods, who is sitting out the Masters with a back injury.
He can now cash in on that momentum with another victory, which will enhance Scott's stock to epic proportions. Having yet to win a major since 2008's U.S. Open, Woods' mystique exceeds his on-field production. That has opened the door for other golfers to invade his monopoly on the spotlight.
Scott is not content with earning his one first-place finish. Last Sunday, he reported, via the The Boston Globe's Michael Whitmer, that he has no intentions of relinquishing his green jacket.
"I’ve really got this thing in my head that I’m quite determined to not leave it here,” Scott said. “I am very determined to take it with me again next Sunday.”
Three more rounds await, and he likely won't get away with another slip-up. In a field of 97 competitors, somebody else is bound to catch fire, which ensures that nobody stumbles into a green jacket.
But Scott is as steady as they come, earning 15 top-25 finishes in his last 21 PGA Tour events. He should remain firm near the leaderboard throughout the next three days.
Unless this weekend turns into his Ice Town, it's time to officially retire the Ben Wyatt jokes. Well, maybe a calzone quip here and there, as long as we still appreciate Adam Scott's growing presence as one one of PGA's elite golfers.