Texas was the perfect place for Scott to show he's best player in the world
May 26, 2014
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott is the first player in PGA TOUR history to win all four events in Texas. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, Texas -- He talks funny, especially when you're used to the slow drawl of a West Texas cowboy.
He's too pretty. Leathery faces baked with deep crevices from an unrelenting summer sun are the standard here, not GQ-model looks.
He's too much of a jet-setter. He's from Australia, won tournaments from Singapore to Scotland to Sweden, is a resident of Switzerland and was married in the Bahamas. For some residents of this state, "international travel" means crossing the Red River into Oklahoma.
So what right does Adam Scott have in becoming the first golfer to complete the Texas Slam, a feat no native son has ever managed, despite the grand litany of golfing icons derived from this state?
The simple response is that he has every right, and Texans will embrace him as warmly as if one of their own had claimed that honor.
In Scott, they see a golfer who has faced the doubters, faced the scrutiny, faced the bright heat of a spotlight, and never lost his way. They see a golfer who maintained his dignity when times are tough, and maintains his humility now that he's on top of the world.
On Sunday, Scott won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, beating Jason Dufner with a birdie on the third playoff hole. Combined with previous PGA TOUR wins in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, Scott now has conquered all four PGA TOUR stops in the state. Nobody else has ever done that.
If you're not from Texas, it may not seem like a big deal. That it's a parlor trick more than legendary feat. That it's mere coincidence four of his 11 career PGA TOUR wins have come here.
But in Texas, where discussions of seceding from the union are as frequent as which steak to cook for dinner, these things are not taken lightly. The fact that Adam Scott won the Texas Slam in the same week that he became the world's top-ranked golfer certainly isn't a coincidence.
It's just fitting.
"I really enjoy playing in Texas," Scott said after his win. "Something about the golf courses and the terrain and even the dirt, it reminds me a lot of places back in Australia.
"It has a level of comfort."
He didn't appear comfortable a few days earlier when he bogeyed four of his first nine holes at Colonial and appeared headed for an early exit. He had wanted to use this week as a quasi-celebration of his ascension to world No. 1 ahead of Tiger Woods, and also to make amends for a poor showing two weeks earlier at THE PLAYERS Championship.
Having limited experience at Colonial's tight, tree-lined layout, Scott was still in adjustment mode. He wanted to bomb when the sensible thing was to dial back. He needed a few holes to adjust.
He also needed time to adjust to his new status atop the golfing world. Depending on the results at the Crowne Plaza as well as the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship, his position was precarious at best. Scott was determined to show he was worthy of No. 1. But now, he was pressing too hard.
But at 33, Scott has become a quick study. He's not stubborn like some younger guys, who take the my-way-or-the-highway approach to course management. He found that Colonial has its own set of values, that you can't bomb it here, that you must hit spots, shave yards off the tee if needed, deal with the odd gust of wind and make sure to sink a few putts.
Scott's final nine holes on Thursday saved him. He recovered from the shaky start and starting adhering to the gameplan. He was the No. 1 ranked player in the world, and now he was acting like it.
"It was a challenge for me," Scott said. "I think it tested my patience a little bit. And it demands a lot out of my game.
"I came into this week looking to try to find some rhythm on the golf course. And it may not be the easiest one for me, because I don't get a free swing at drivers all day long, which is what I like to do to find a nice rhythm. But it's testing my game for where it needs to be."
So here he was on Sunday. He had just three-putted for a double bogey on the ninth hole. His fate was in the balance, just like it was on Thursday after those first nine holes.
Scott responded with a bogey-free 3 under on the back nine, posting a 66 and a 9-under total that would get him into the playoff with Dufner.
Here he was again on Sunday. Dufner had just stuffed his approach shot on the second playoff hole to inside 5 feet. Easy birdie. Meanwhile, Scott's approach had tracked the flag but flown past the hole and finished on the fringe, 12 feet away. It was must-make time.
Earlier versions of Scott may have wilted at the opportunity. But this is a different Scott now, a robust, confident Scott. This is a Scott who had buried pressure-packed putts to win the Masters last year. This is a Scott who has turned the corner.
"You draw on experience," Scott said.
No surprise that he rolled in the birdie putt, forcing Dufner to do the same. And then no surprise that Scott followed on the next playoff hole with a pin-seeking approach to set up the winning birdie from 7 feet.
Certainly it was no surprise from Dufner's perspective.
"He's a great player, obviously No. 1 in the world," Dufner said. "It's tough to beat him."
Then Dufner added one of those wry-humor comments that only the Duf-man can seemingly get away with saying: "It's tough to concentrate, he's so good-looking."
Ah, yes, the looks thing. Maybe we should get past that. If there's anything pretty about Scott right now, it's that his game is better-looking than anybody else's on the planet, certainly if you believe the Official World Golf Ranking.
Scott showed that this week. He came in as No. 1 and delivered like a No. 1. He came to Texas to complete a mission and delivered on that mission. He completed the Texas Slam at the same course that honors Ben Hogan's legend. Hogan won five times at Colonial -- Scott counted each one on the Wall of Champions that adorns the first tee box -- but he couldn't complete what Scott achieved Sunday.
"This is a golf course steeped in history in the game, and certainly with Ben Hogan," Scott said.
Who knows what Hogan would have thought of an Aussie laying claim to the Texas Slam. The Hawk was a tough bird to figure out. But he probably would appreciate Adam Scott's story, a golfer full of talent who has taken massive strides the last two years to fulfill that destiny and now is coming into his own.
On Sunday, Scott received the plaid jacket that goes to the Crowne Plaza winner. He also received a belt buckle. Along with the cowboy boots he claimed four years ago for winning in San Antonio, Scott's starting to dress like a true Texan.
Anybody got a 10-gallon hat?
"I'll be looking good tonight in Fort Worth," Scott joked.
At No. 1 in the world, he's looking good everywhere he goes -- especially on the golf course. True Texans can understand and appreciate that, even if he does talk funny.
Adam Scott retains top ranking in the world at Crowne Plaza
Adam Scott retains top ranking in the world at Crowne Plaza