Watch Out, Adam Scott’s Got a Short Game Now
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Adam Scott has found success with the long putter

Boasting one of the sweetest swings in golf, Adam Scott has rarely been questioned for his ballstriking abilities (barring the rough stretch he endured from the end of the ’08 season through 10 missed cuts in ’09). However, his flair around the greens has been the target of criticism in past years, especially in regard to his record at majors — rather, lack thereof. The 30-year-old Australian came close to snagging a green jacket at Augusta last month, rolling in one clutch putt after the other, while wielding a broomstick putter, in the final round to tie for runner-up.

Scott won the 2004 Players Championship, the closest thing he has to claiming a major title (after all, it’s been called the “fifth major,” if you buy into the marketing). After struggling with a couple of freak injuries and heartbreaks, he bounced back and broke his cold streak in ’10, winning the Valero Texas Open. While he feels like he pulled his game together last year, he was still missing a key component necessary to reach the next level.

“[Last year] my short game wasn’t quite at the level where it was helping the rest of my game,” said Scott during his pre-tournament presser at TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday. “My long game didn’t look as good as it really was last year.

“But certainly since January coming home from Hawaii this year, my short game has certainly stepped up a level and it’s complementing what I’ve done on my long game. Everything feels in good shape. I think I feel as complete a player as I ever have all around. Everything is in as good a place as it can be, and from here, it’s just a matter of continuing to push myself to get better and better everywhere. I’m certainly not dominating golf, so I need t keep pushing myself and try and keep moving in a forward direction with it all.

“I’m on a good track right now. I feel very happy about where it’s all at.”

Scott’s comfort level most likely has something to do with his switch to the broomstick putter in between the Hawaii swing and the Match Play Championship. During that time, his coach suggested he work with the long putter as a practice drill, with the purpose of improving his rhythm. The more he practiced with it, the more he saw the ball going in the hole, giving him more confidence.

No doubt Scott is a favorite to win this week. Though his victory at TPC Sawgrass came when the event was still played in March, he’s had some success since it’s moved to May, including a tied for sixth finish in ’07. After his spectacular performance at Augusta last month and the extra swagger in his step, he’s got my vote.

On the lighter side of things, Scott’s becoming a frustrated looper during the annual contest when the caddies take a shot at the par-3 17th hole on Wednesday of tournament week. In the last three years his caddie Tony Navarro has adamantly insisted on hitting an 8-iron into the island green despite Adam’s plea for him to take a 7- or 6-iron.

“Short is no good,” said Scott, who hits 9-iron from the same spot. “I might just do the caddie move and pull everyone aside and give him a 7-iron this year.”

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!