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Adam Scott: Masters champ has found steely side and should top rankings

Rob Lee - Rob Lee Posted 25th March 2014 view comments

I don't know if Adam Scott is a better player than when he won the Masters last year but he is certainly the same player and that's not bad.

Scott had three wins in 2013 after his triumph at Augusta - the Barclays on the PGA Tour, plus the Australian PGA and Australian Masters in his homeland - and contended at the Open Championship and USPGA Championship, so he hasn't rested on his laurels.

Caddie Steve Williams (L) has had a positive impact on Adam Scott

Caddie Steve Williams (L) has had a positive impact on Adam Scott

For me, the World No 2 is the unofficial World No. 1 and when we get to the Masters and he tucks into the 'Champions Dinner' meal he has requested - whether it's kangaroo burgers or shrimps on the barbie with a can of Fosters - he'll be right in the running.

Scott had a fantastic opportunity to earn another win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday and officially top the rankings, so he will be kicking himself that he shot a four-over 76 and ended up third behind Matt Every and Keegan Bradley.

Williams has given Adam that little bit of Roy Keane toughness and completed his puzzle.

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However, I don't think that faltering performance will be of grave concern to Adam and I expect he will just view it as one of those days where things didn't go right - three days after things went very, very right.

Scott shot a phenomenal course-record 62 at Bay Hill on Thursday so he knows he is in decent fettle, and he is also pretty adept at coming back from difficult positions.

Adam should have won the Open Championship at Royal Lytham in 2012 before bogeying the final four holes and seeing Ernie Els nip in and punish him, but he had a solid 11th place at that year's USPGA and then landed his maiden Major at Augusta in April 2013.

He knows that having a dodgy Sunday is not the end of the world and will take great comfort from the fact he was leading a world-class field, including Henrik Stenson, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Zach Johnson, by a considerable margin for much of the weekend.

Devil

Scott has reached a point now where he turns up at every tournament knowing that he has a great chance of winning, which is a great mindset to be in, and I think his caddie, Steve Williams, has been pivotal in that respect.

Adam's weakness used to be his putting but he solved that with the long putter, so the only missing piece in the jigsaw was that because he is such a nice bloke he sometimes lacked that streak of steel.

Whether you get angry at yourself, your opposition, the course or whatever, you need something to get your inner grit or Roy Keane toughness going, which the likes of Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus had in droves.

Williams has given that to Adam and completed his puzzle - and more success is undoubtedly on the horizon with the Australian still only 33 years of age.

Scott, as I said, is creeping towards the World No 1 spot and I don't think it would be any less of an achievement if he got there whilst Tiger Woods is nursing the back injury that may prevent him from competing at the Masters.

There were days when beating Tiger was like scaling Everest but those days are no more because the great man is simply not what he used to be and has not any of the last 22 Majors, stretching back to 2008.

You used to be virtually guaranteed a Major if you edged out Tiger but now you might edge out Tiger in a Major and finish a lot further back because he is not a consistent force.

Scott is now a better all-round package then Woods - he swings the club better, hits the ball better, and skews it less - and I think it is only Rory McIlroy who can stop him from topping the rankings.

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I expect Dallas boy Jordan Spieth to win the Valero Texas Open and collect his second PGA Tour victory. Spieth is an 18/1 shot with Sky Bet, while I think Team Asia will cope with the sticky Malaysian conditions best in the EurAsia Cup. They have a great chance of beating Team Europe and I think Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat could emerge as top points scorer at 10/1.

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Comments (1)

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Mike Price says...

I really enjoy your presenting style. Just watched you talk to Danny willett. Excellent. At last, someone who asks proper questions and insists the guests answer them. We'll done, Rob.

Posted 22:04 28th March 2014

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