Scott tries to maintain momentum as Masters nears
Aussie has captured the first two legs of the Florida Swing in impressive fashion
March 07, 2016
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott is the first two-time winner on the PGA TOUR this season after winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
I usually try to avoid discussing a player’s "momentum." I think the topic is a byproduct of the 24-hour news cycle, a storyline that gets excessive coverage in an attempt to fill the Internet’s infinite space.
Yes, sometimes a new coach or swing key can cause things to "click" and lead to better results, if only for a couple weeks. But sometimes players' successful stretches are just a matter of probability. An elite player is more likely than his competitors to win on any given week, and sometimes that win comes one week after the previous one.
If there's one thing we can agree on, it’s that golf is a fickle game. We've seen plenty of players follow victories with poor performances, and vice versa.
"Momentum" is often little more than a talking point.
It is worth discussing when a player mentions it, though. Adam Scott has won back-to-back PGA TOUR events, but now has to wait a month until the year’s first major, his beloved Masters.
“I'd love to just bottle up where my game's been at the last couple weeks and move forward a month,” Scott said. “That's going to be the hard thing for me to do is to manage my expectations and also manage my game to keep it right here.
“You know, I can't just keep pushing. I have to pace myself kind of so I don't over-work it and try and get too prepared and do all that. It's finding that balance the next month for me that's going to be really important, but obviously the confidence is going to be high right now. So I just want to do everything to keep that there.”
High expectations can be a curse because they can cause frustration to build quickly. But it has to be hard to manage them after a fortnight like Scott’s. Especially when heading to Augusta National, where he won in 2013 and was runner-up two years earlier.
Was Scott deflecting when he didn’t name himself the favorite for this year’s Masters? Probably not. Bubba Watson, winner of the Northern Trust Open and runner-up at the Cadillac, has won twice at Augusta National. But shining the spotlight on another name can’t hurt.
There’s no secret formula that will guarantee that Scott’s success will continue. The process of “peaking” is a very personal one, and there’s debate in the academic community about whether the “hot hand” is reality or fallacy. That’s why I’m keeping this short. I can’t pretend to know what is in store for Scott at Augusta National.
All we can do is appreciate what he has done over the past three weeks. He was runner-up at Riviera before winning at The Honda Classic and World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. He now joins the select club of players to have won multiple WGCs, and he has another one, the Dell Match Play, between now and the Masters.
Sometimes waiting is the hardest part.
Top five Microsoft insights
1. Adam Scott led the field in strokes gained: approach, gaining an average of three strokes per round on the field with his approach shots. He was 17th in strokes gained: putting, gaining 0.6 strokes per round. He hit 53 of 72 greens in regulation, tied for third-best in the field.
2. Scott won despite having one of the worst short-game performances of the week, according to strokes gained statistics. Scott ranked 51st in the 65-man field in strokes gained: short game, losing an average of 0.4 strokes per round with his short game (this statistic does not include a player's performance on the greens).
3. Rory McIlroy started the final round with a three-shot lead, but shot 74 on Sunday to finish third. McIlroy has converted a 54-hole lead into victory in six of 10 opportunities. McIlroy also shot a final-round 75 at the recent Northern Trust Open after grabbing a share of the lead with an eagle on the first hole of the final round.
4. This is the third multiple-win season of Scott’s career. He also won two titles in 2004 (THE PLAYERS, Booz Allen) and 2013 (Masters, The Barclays). He is the first multiple winner this season.
5. Scott has two wins and two runners-up in six starts this season. His 1,608 FedExCup points give him a 488-point lead over No. 2 Kevin Kisner. We’re in the first week of March, but Scott could qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola without earning another FedExCup point. It took 1,503 points to qualify for last year’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Top 3 videos of the week
1. Adam Scott took a risk on Doral’s final hole. His ball barely stayed dry, but he took advantage of the good break by saving par with a clutch up-and-down. The 6-foot par putt was further proof that Scott can succeed with the short putter.
Adam Scott wins with clutch par on the 72nd hole at Cadillac Championship
2. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Kristoffer Broberg's slam dunk at Cadillac Championship
3. Making par on Doral’s 18th always feels good, especially when you do it like this.
Jason Day's dramatic finish at No. 18 at Cadillac Championship
Notes to note
1. Danny Willett’s third-place finish at the Cadillac Championship continued his success in the World Golf Championships. Willett, 28, has finished no worse than 17th in his past five WGCs. He’s finished third in three of those five starts.
Danny Willett at WGCs. 💪💪— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) March 7, 2016
2016 Cadillac: T3
2015 HSBC: T3
2015 Bridgestone: T17
2015 Match Play: 3rd
2015 Cadillac: T12
2. Rickie Fowler finished eighth at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. He’s finished in the top eight in five of six tournaments this season, including a victory at the Abu Dhabi Championship and runner-up at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
3. Smylie Kaufman made a strong World Golf Championships debut at the Cadillac Championship, finishing T8. The good finish should help Kaufman qualify for another WGC. He arrived at the Cadillac Championship ranked 65th in the Official World Golf Ranking, but moved up to No. 49 after Doral. The top 64 players in the OWGR after this week’s Valspar Championship qualify for the WGC-Dell Match Play, which will be held March 23-27 at Austin (Texas) Country Club. Alternates for the tournament will be determined by the world ranking after Valspar.
4. Congratulations to the men’s golf team of my alma mater, Cal Poly, which won the Del Walker Classic on March 1. The Mustangs shot a school-record 268 in the second round. It was the Mustangs’ first team title in three years.