Adam Scott out of a fairway trap on the 5th during The Australian Open Golf pro am at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Adam Scott out of a fairway trap on the 5th during The Australian Open Golf pro am at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney. Picture. Phil Hillyard

How near misses have steeled Scott for Open shot

He's been Australia's best golfer of the last decade, and the only Aussie to win at Augusta National, but something's still eating Adam Scott.

And it's not that he's only landed one major, or that his reign as world No.1 was cut short, it's his inability to win a second Australian Open after his lone victory in 2009 that's been grating him.

"I'm a little surprised that I haven't won another Australian Open in this 10-year stretch," he said.

"I managed to get a couple of (Australian) Masters in that period and an (Australian) PGA, but it would be nice to get my name on that cup again.

"It's a great trophy and any time you see your name kind of racking up on a trophy is something quite special. So, this week would be the week to do it."

Scott is the favourite to win this year's tournament, starting at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Thursday, but he's up against a hot field, lured to play here because the Presidents Cup is being held in Melbourne next week.

Half of the Internationals teams, including fellow Aussies Marc Leishman and Cam Smith and Mexico's defending champion Abraham Ancer, will tee off along with major winners Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Mike Weir and Geoff Ogilvy.

Such is the depth in the field, Els is rated a 200-1 shot to win the title even though the Big Easy isn't ruling himself out.

"I've played in Australia a lot, since the nineties, early nineties I played at The Vines in Western Australia, I've played in Melbourne, I've played up in Queensland, and I've won quite a few in Australia," Els said.

 

It’s been 10 years since Scott tasted Australian Open success.
It’s been 10 years since Scott tasted Australian Open success.

Garcia is playing the Australian Open for the first time. As a Spaniard he's not eligible to play in the Presidents Cup and confessed he hasn't got any great tips on how to beat the United States even after being on winning European teams in the Ryder Cup.

"The only thing I can do is wish them luck. Obviously, hopefully they play really, really well," Garcia said.

"Scotty and I were talking this morning at breakfast, if they can at least make it a tight match and see how the Americans respond, then they're already achieving something and if they can make it a tight match, then obviously they will have their chances of winning."

Scott's attention, at least for the next four days, is winning the Australian Open. His overall record in the tournament is impressive though filled with hard luck stories.

Although he had already won tournaments all over the world by then, Scott's Australian Open win in 2009 was the launch pad for him to regularly contend in the majors and with a bit more luck, the laid-back Queenslander could have had his name engraved on Stonehaven Cup at least twice more, after finishing runner-up in 2013 and again in 2015.

"I've been close a couple of times in the last 10 years and obviously I bogeyed the last and Rory (McIlroy) birdied the last," he said.

 

Ernie Els is confident of his chances at The Australian.
Ernie Els is confident of his chances at The Australian.

"That hurt a lot. And few years ago here I lost by a shot to Matt Jones."

Scott has copped a barrage of criticism after skipping the last two Australian Opens, opting to spend more time with his family, but stands by his decisions.

Approaching 40 and now married with two children, he has been trying to balance his family and golf commitments though refutes the notion he's not committed to winning more Australian Opens.

"I'm not going to win it not playing it, but I knew I'd come back and play in an Australian Open, it was just the timing," he said.

"I've won all the events that are here, so in a sense I'm happy with that. The greedy side of me wants to win them all every time, which doesn't just happen."

News Corp Australia


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