JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Adam Scott was watching on TV in the well-appointed locker room at Liberty National when his buddy Justin Rose three-putted the 72nd hole on Sunday and left him in sole possession of the lead at The Barclays.
The Aussie was heading for the range about 45 minutes later as Tiger Woods left a 27-footer from off the same 18th green just inches short of the birdie he needed to tie Scott, too. He didn't need to see what happened, Scott would later say, he "just heard the crowd not cheer, really."
The groans weren't quite as loud when Gary Woodland's last-chance of a 10-footer to force a playoff veered left of the hole. But Scott was standing next to Steve Williams, the caddie he jokingly called his "disciplinarian," watching the final challenge on the giant LED screen next to the range.
To be sure, Scott did what he had to do in the final round -- firing a bogey-free 66 on a difficult day when the course played nearly a stroke over its par of 71 to surge to the top of the leaderboard. At the same time, though, the 33-year-old acknowledged he was "shocked" his score of 11 under -- which was a stroke less than the overnight lead -- actually held up.
"But I guess it's different playing an hour and a half in front of the leaders and the guys who have been under pressure all day," Scott said. "... When the pressure is on you to close out, it's much harder and the holes become much harder and shots are far more crucial.
"I mean, I feel like I've been given a bit of a gift, but I'll take it, that's for sure."
The victory was the second of the season for Scott, who did what his idol Greg Norman could never do when he beat Angel Cabrera in a playoff to win the Masters four months ago. He had said at the time he wanted to use that long awaited major championship as a springboard -- and after a tie for third at The Open Championship and a share of fifth at the PGA, as well, Scott is clearly on the verge of something very big.
Will that come in the FedExCup Playoffs? Well, Scott has certainly given himself a jump start -- moving to second in the standings, just 162 points behind Woods. He's certainly got momentum heading to TPC Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which served up Scott's inaugural PGA TOUR victory way back in 2003.
"It's huge," he said. "I've been pushing pretty hard and knocking on the door the last couple majors, and it didn't happen. And then to come into the Playoffs, there's so much to play for and this is such an important week with all of the big points up for grabs. Now knowing I'm going to have a run at the FedExCup is going to be great."
"I need to use this momentum I've got and take it up to Boston, a course where I've had success before and I like playing, and hopefully it would be nice to kind of get back in contention again and go back to back."
The drama that unfolded Sunday in the veritable shadow of the Statue of Liberty on a sensational and scenic course that was once a landfill affirmed what Scott already knew. No matter what happens, you're never out of it. Not even when you are playing like a "dog" -- those are Scott's words, not ours -- and had fallen nine shots off the lead with 24 holes remaining.
At that point on Saturday afternoon, Scott admitted he was just looking for a good finish and "trying not to slip down those FedExCup points." But he atoned for that double bogey at the 10th hole and the bogey at the 12th with three birdies in his next four holes that the Aussie would later say "salvaged a half-respectable round" and "saved my week."
Both Scott and his caddie knew how important it was to stay positive.
"He's playing the best percentage golf he can play," Williams said. "Saturday was a very poor round but he got around in 1 over. It easily could've been a 75 or 76 but you have a bad day and you manage your game well and that's important out here. Your bad days better be competitive in order to win because the guys are so good out here.
"If you can keep your bad days around par you can win. If you shoot 4 or 5 over you can't come back and win."
Truth be told, though, Scott didn't really have any expectations of hoisting any crystal when he teed it up with Webb Simpson on Sunday afternoon. He trailed the leaders by six strokes, after all, and Scott just wanted to get a good round under his belt after that setback of a third-round 72.
"I was disappointed to play poorly on the Saturday when I was in contention starting the day, so I wanted to make up for that," Scott explained. "That was all I was really thinking about."
Even when he grabbed a share of the lead with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, Scott still expected someone to go lower. Rose, Woods and Woodland all tried, but Scott prevailed.
"I was thinking, I'm lucky to even have a chance, I started today on a wing and a prayer I thought," Scott said. "I played a good round of golf but I didn't think it was good enough, but the closing holes threw up a challenge on these guys and luck was definitely on my side today."
Scott had a darn good record in Boston, too, finishng seventh, eighth and fifth in the last three years. His best finish in the first six years of the FedExCup is 12th in 2007, but now he's poised for so much more.
"To win the first Playoff event really sets you up for a great run and excited about the next few weeks now," Scott said. "Looking forward to getting into East Lake, hopefully having a chance to be a FedEx Champion."