On the 18th green at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday, on the 3rd playoff hole, Adam Scott stood over a 50 foot putt for birdie. His competitor, Ryan Moore only had about 20 feet left for his birdie, however he was slightly off the green. After two previous playoff holes, the 18th then the 17th and then back to 18, the crowd and probably the players both yearned for finality. While watching on TV I thought to myself, there is no way Scott will make this putt. He'll be doing just fine to make par and continue the playoff. Scott sets up to the putt. He strikes the ball and after an eternity of rolling across the green, the ball drops. The crowd erupts and Scott gives the obligatory fist pump. Ryan Moore, however is not exactly beaming. In comparison to Scott's putt, Moore's seemed a relatively easy two putt and he probably didn't feel much anxiety over it. After all, he was much closer to the hole. However, after the drop of the "Adam Bomb", he was forced to make this putt to extend the playoff and he missed. You had to feel sorry for the guy but on the other hand Scott really stepped up and deserved the tournament with that putt.
Upon the surface, this may just seem like a routine win by one of the better players in the field. However, this player just happened to be Adam Scott. This was actually a very big win for Scott. With his last win coming over a year ago in Houston, Scott desperately needed a fresh victory.
For a while now, the main question in golf has been, "Who will challenge Tiger?" I think a lot of people have moved on and just conceded that Tiger will continue to be the best and nobody will come close. With Scott's victory Sunday, he demonstrated that he can be the man to beat Tiger. Granted that Tiger was not in the field, due to knee surgery recovery, Scott still proved that he has the guts to win one. As a player who seemingly has more talent than he knows what to do with, Scott's career can actually be looked upon with slight disappointment. He has had 14 wins worldwide since turning pro in 2000, but given Scott's game that number should be a little higher. I am also surprised that he hasn't won a major yet. Scott is only 27 and has plenty of years left. With that said, I think his future looks pretty bright. As mentioned before, Scott probably has as much pure talent as anybody else on tour. He also has possibly the most technically correct swing in the game. Just ask a few swing coaches. Scott reminds me a little, of a younger Phil Mickelson. Once again, someone who has tons of talent but doesn't really know what to do with it. Fortunately for Mickelson, he matured and won three majors, including two Masters. It wouldn't surprise me if Scott does the same. However, the same can be said for so many players. They have the ability but just not the mental game. That is what sets Tiger apart from everyone else. Not only has he nearly perfected his ball game, he has mastered his mental game. I see the mental aspect as such an important part of the game, maybe the most important of all. So if players like Adam Scott could just harness their talent and block out all of the bad thoughts, then we might see Tiger finishing second in more and more tournaments. Scott looks pretty good to win the upcoming Player's Championship, which he has already won and which Tiger also will not be playing in.
With his latest victory, Adam Scott has clearly demonstrated that he has what it takes to not only become a top tier player, but also a possible challenger to Tiger.