Rich Lerner

Q&A With Adam Scott

Like so many of golf's Next Big Things, the Aussie hasn't yet achieved the greatness he expected. Now 30, he's back in form and not to be forgotten

January 2011

With his two-day growth, curly hair and athletic build, Adam Scott appears as ready for his next day on a surfboard as he does for this week's PGA Tour event. Scott has won golf tournaments in eight countries, been linked to a beautiful movie star and a tennis stunner, resides in Switzerland and Australia and recently took ownership of a Gulfstream jet. Any other 30-year-old in any other profession with that kind of dossier would be considered a success. Why then is Adam Scott considered an underachiever?

Because when he won the Players Championship at 23, people figured majors would quickly follow. They haven't. Now, after a series of physical and emotional setbacks that led to more than a year of mostly bad golf, Scott is having fun again.

Two wins in less than six months -- the Australian Open in December 2009 and Texas Open in May 2010 -- and three solid finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs. What changed?
Well... a lot of things. At the end of 2009 I started swinging the club better, which was part one of the process -- a five-part process, probably. I started to get my confidence back through hitting the ball more solidly and then making a few putts to win the Australian Open. Then after I struggled with my putting at the start of 2010, I had a lesson with Dave Stockton that, coupled with the work I did with my golf swing, led to the win in Texas. Hopefully I can keep producing.

This comes after what had to be your worst year as a pro, in 2009. Ten missed cuts in 24 events. What went wrong?
After I won the Byron Nelson in 2008, I was in a really good place. I'd won in Qatar and dug one out in Dallas, and I felt like everything was rolling along great. That's when I broke up with Marie, broke my hand and then got sick. It turned out to be quite a long setback. But that's OK. As long as it happens only once.

The breakup was a big factor, wasn't it?
It had a big impact on my life. Marie and I had been dating for seven years and lived together for five, sharing homes in Australia and London. We had built a life together. What happened? Our lives in some ways were just moving apart, possibly because of my travel. She studies architecture, and is very talented and driven. I didn't want to hold her back. It happens, but it still hurts.

What about the broken hand? Didn't someone slam it in a car door?
It was a complete accident. We were out having a few drinks and decided to shift venues. We were all piling into a mate's car, and his buddy accidentally shut the door while my hand was up there, and I was jabbering away. Those things happen.

Critics have been pretty tough on you.
When people think you've got potential, they can be fairly harsh. When you're busting your ass and not getting anything out of it, you do get tired of hearing it. But look, I set lofty goals. I want to win majors. And if I'm not delivering and I get criticized for that, well, that's fair. But time isn't running out.

Do you feel good about where you're headed?
I'm excited. This is the best attitude I've had. Part of it comes from having experienced some lows and having to dig my way out of that. I was down and a bit depressed. But you can't stay like that for long. I know I'm lucky to do what I do.

What's your reaction when you hear that you lack toughness?
I don't understand where that comes from, because I win. It's not a toughness thing. It's preparation. It's a mind-set. I've won a fair bit when I've been in the hunt.

Obviously, any major would be huge, but everyone has a favorite. Which trophy do you most want to win?
If I was picky, which I'm not, I'd love to win the Masters just to say that I'm the first Aussie ever to win that. After that, the [British] Open Championship.

Tell us about your family and growing up in Australia.
I was born in Adelaide and moved to Queensland when I was 7. That's where I fell in love with the beach. It's the best move my parents ever made. Your dad was in the golf business. What did he do? Dad manufactured wooden drivers, fairway woods and putters under the name Mascot Golf. He put corporate logos on the faces of the clubs. Today he designs courses.

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