Wells Fargo Championship

Adam Scott plays ‘OK every week,’ but notes that just playing OK ‘sucks on the PGA Tour’

May 06, 2023
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Kevin C. Cox

CHARLOTTE — You might have missed it amid the two-man stripe show starring Wyndham Clark and Xander Schauffele, but Adam Scott has slowly risen up the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship, one excellent round at a time, and now finds himself in a tie for third at 11 under heading into the final round. If you didn't miss it, it's likely because you saw the highlight of his round on the 17th hole:

Scott bogeyed the last for a 67, but the most interesting part of his day might be what came after, in his short press conference. Normally understated, the 42-year-old was surprisingly open with everything he's experienced in his career since COVID threw a wrench into his plans.

"It's been hard not to be frustrated because there isn't one thing that I can really put my finger on why I'm not getting better results," he said of his year so far. "I play OK every week and OK kind of sucks on the PGA Tour, so I'm nowhere with anything."

If that level of frustration is eye-opening, it was even more surprising to see it carry over even to his Saturday performance.

"I thought I played really solid, the kind of round you'd want," he said. "But when the guy's leading and he lights it up, I'm left searching a little bit, like what do I need to do?

"Everything's gotten bigger and bigger and bigger," he added, "and here we are now, we've been at designated events, and if you're trying to win your first at a designated event, it's all incredibly significant. These events have a new status on the tour. I think in time we'll see them somewhat revered amongst the players, like how many designated events have you won, counting them a little bit like we counted Tiger winning WGCs throughout the years."

If it sounds like Scott is having something of a minor existential crisis, it's understandable; not only did Scott test positive for COVID in 2020, but the period was a major struggle because differing protocols in the U.S. and Australia meant it was difficult for him to see his parents, wife, and children—including his third child, born in late 2020—for long periods of time. That affected his performance, and he watched his world ranking slip from top 10 all the way to No. 50 by early 2022. And while he feels his play has improved, the most he has to show for it in 2023 so far is a T-21 at the Sony Open.

Now, though, he's closer than ever to a big victory, and it wasn't hard to tell that he wanted to be closer to the lead after the 67-68-67 start. His finish to the round, a bogey stemming from a dead pull off the tee, felt more costly than it might have otherwise, and he knows he's got a major deficit to surmount on Sunday. And even though it's been more than three years since his last PGA Tour win, he's had plenty of experience to guide him.

"It's never easy to win out here," he said, "but thinking back to when I won any tournament ... you just, it's your day. If you can keep yourself under control, something goes right and you end up getting across the line. I know that's easier said than done, but that's kind of what it felt like. You've got to just do the same stuff that got you to that position through three days."

He'll need some help from the leaders, but even if he can't win, Sunday could be a major step toward the final act Scott wants for himself, and toward putting a capstone on a brilliant career.