Adam Scott relied on his long putter to win the Masters, his first major victory. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
First off, let me congratulate Adam Scott for his win at the Masters. I’m sure many of you share the same thoughts and feelings after watching Scott lose the Open Championship with such heartbreak last summer.
It was a great Masters in so many ways. Even if Angel Cabrera would have prevailed and won his second Green Jacket, it still would’ve been a great tournament. But it felt more special with Scott winning. The reality is Scott deserved this major championship, not just because of what happened last year, but because the Aussie has done all of the things necessary to claim a major.
One of the areas that needed to improve was Scott’s putting, and the extended putter has completely changed his game. At first, I found myself chuckling a bit about Scott with the long putter. Here you have this young, fit, good-looking Australian using this putter that was primarily only seen on the Champions Tour. Well, after watching the last two putts fall on Sunday at Augusta National, things don’t look that weird anymore.
One of the biggest things the long putter can offer a golfer is less face rotation during the stroke. With the putter shaft closer to vertical (90 degrees), the putter face will open less during the backstroke and close less through impact. This is significant. In order to be a great putter you must be able to return the putter face to a square position so the ball will start on the intended target line. For those who struggle with too much face rotation, the long putter is certainly an option.
Since changing to the long putter, Scott has seemed to hit his intended target line more often. As a result, he has been able to focus on the speed of the putt and become much more instinctive. After all, this instinctive environment is what we all want on the greens. Sometimes completely changing your putting style is needed.
I applaud Scott for doing the things needed to get his game to the highest level.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.
Scott focused on one shot at a time during his Masters win. (Redington/Getty Images)
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Golf places you on an emotional roller coaster. When you play extremely well, feelings of euphoria can ooze from your smile. On the other hand, poor play can instantaneously change you into a disgruntled golfer who believes all the bad breaks have gone your way.
Your best golf is played between the extremes of emotional intensity. While most articles on the mental game focus on reducing anxiety and curtailing your anger, getting too pumped up can also be disadvantageous to your game. Luckily for Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, he was able to keep his intensity level under control.
After Scott made that marvelous putt on the 72nd hole for birdie, he became enormously jubilant, clenching his entire body with joy and then, he gave his caddie a power high-five. Scott believed he had just won the tournament, but it only lasted for a few moments, as he then saw Angel Cabrera make an amazing birdie to tie him at 9-under par.
At that moment, Scott knew had to get his intensity level back to normal so he could control his swing. If not, his adrenaline could act as a powerful stimulant and throw his swing out of sequence, as well as cause him to hit his irons much farther than usual (which can lead to devastating results at Augusta National).
As the golfing world saw on Sunday, Scott got cool, calm and collected for the playoff and went on to win his first green jacket.
While I know it is fun to make that Tiger fist pump when you make a birdie or long par putt, allowing yourself to get too pumped up can seriously deflate your golf scores. Your game is susceptible to the emotional highs the links may bring. Here are a couple suggestions to remain in control of your emotions like Masters champion Adam Scott:
1) Emotional awareness is the first step to emotional control. If you just made three birdies in a row, you might have immense adrenaline flowing throughout your body. If you feel your heart rate racing, you will need to calm down. Take some deep breaths. Also slow your pace down one notch to counterbalance your excitement.
2) Be wrapped up into the moment like Adam Scott. The 2013 Masters champion mentioned that he was not worrying about being the first Aussie to win the Green Jacket, only focusing on the current shot at hand. When you are caught up in your score, your emotions will follow. When you are thinking about the present shot, your emotions will stay in control.
Golf is a game of emotional control. The better you master this skill, the more in control you will have over your scores.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.
From his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday to his celebratory win in the darkness Sunday, take a look at the best photos from Adam Scott's stirring playoff victory at Augusta National. Launch Gallery
Former and current players took to their Twitter accounts to congratulate Adam Scott on his Masters victory …
Greg Norman (@SharkGregNorman): What happened today I observed in the eyes of Adam when he was 15. He deserves everything he gets from this win. Proud of him & #australia.
Ian Baker-Finch (@IBFinchy): Congratulations Adam Scott on your sensational victory #TheMasters You thoroughly deserve the honour of being 1st Australian #greenjacket
Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley): Congrats to Adam Scott. That was amazing playing. #clutch
Geoff Ogilvy (@geoffogilvy): I reckon it's time for a beer #aussiepride #Masters
John Senden (@JohnSendenGolf): Congrats Adam Scott on a fabulous win @The_Masters . You deserve it mate!! Go the Aussies .
Trevor Immelman (@TrevorImmelman): Really happy for Scotty, one of my longest standing friends on tour. A true champion and gentleman.... One for our generation :)
Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker): Humbled by all the support I received this week.. My time will come.. Congrats to a worthy champ.. Adam deserved today..
Adam Scott birdied the second playoff hole to best Angel Cabrera to win the Masters on Sunday, becoming the first Australian to win the Green Jacket.
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By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A line of thunderstorms spanning as far north as Kentucky and as far south as southern Louisiana is barreling toward Augusta National. The expected arrival time: Approximately 4 p.m. ET.
In the meantime, here's a look at a few afternoon groups to keep an eye on as they'll try to get in as much golf as they can before the heavy stuff hits.
Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Angel Cabrera, 12:57 p.m.: Scott has fared well here the last couple of years, tying for eighth in 2012 and second in 2011. The latter was Scott's best finish in a major at the time, and he held the lead by himself while playing the 71st hole. Then Charl Schwartzel birdied the last four holes to win by two. Garcia, meanwhile, famously said a year ago here that he doesn't think he will ever win a major. He's softened his stance since, but he has just two career top 10s here, the last of which came in 2004 when he tied for fourth. Cabrera has won a major -- three of them -- including this one in 2009.
Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, 1:30 p.m.: It's not a driver, it's not quite a 3-wood, it's a Phrankenwood. Mickelson never disappoints when he comes here, one way or the other, and this year is no different with a special club in his bag that's part driver, part 3-wood. He's also won here three times before. Oosthuizen lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff here last year, and he comes in off a 10th-place finish in Houston. He's also played well on the European Tour, winning the Volvo Champions in January.
Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Freddie Jacobson, 1:41 p.m.: Bradley has been a popular pick in various Masters pools in the press room and with good reason. Bradley, who two years ago won his first major at the PGA Championship, arrives here off four straight top 10s, including a tie for fourth at PGA National and a tie for third at Bay Hill. McIlroy, on the other hand, has had his ups-and-downs but seems to be trending in the right direction after a 65 at Doral and a runner-up in San Antonio.
Adam Scott hopes to break through with his first major win this week (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By PGATOUR.COM staff
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Adam Scott, who has finished in the top 10 at the Masters the last two years, touched on several topics during his Tuesday news conference at Augusta National.
TIGER WOODS: "I think every golfer feels like a win is sweet with Tiger in the field. But you know, I'm not really thinking about that. I think he's obviously the favorite here considering the form he's in. But you know, I think that sometimes means little in golf. It's just not a foregone conclusion. So many can happen over a four-day event, especially around courses like this."
SCOTT'S RECENT PLAY IN MAJORS: "The last couple years has certainly show dramatic improvement in my results in majors. ... I feel like I've got all the boxes ticked and it's down to execution."
NO AUSTRALIAN HAVING WON MASTERS: "Although we haven't won, we've had a lot of success here as contenders, I guess. And it's going to happen one day, we say it, but it's up to one of us to make it happen. I think I've certainly developed a real level of comfort with the golf course in the last three years, so for me, I say that quietly confident that I believe I can make it happen one of these years that I'm here."
Adam Scott ranks T13 in scrambling and T18 in sand saves in 2013. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
By Bill Cooney, PGATOUR.COM
Kevin Streelman picked up his first PGA TOUR victory at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank on Sunday with a rare climb from the back of the pack to win. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods will attempt to match Sam Snead's record for wins at a single event (8) at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. Woods won last season with some impressive iron play and potent putting.
We'll take a look at Streelman's unusual feat, Woods and more this week by going Inside the Numbers ....
+1.222 The average strokes over par that the Copperhead Course played for the week at Tampa Bay, making the course the second most-difficult on TOUR in 2013. … The Copperhead Course is usually one of the tougher tracks on TOUR, sans the past two seasons when it actually played under par for the week. But this season the course showed its bite again, playing the hardest since 2008 when it played at 1.970 over par. At 1.222, Copperhead would have ranked as the 11th-toughest course at year-end last season.
+5.768 Number of strokes Woods picked up on the field average for the week in putting in winning at Bay Hill last season. … Woods ranked fourth in strokes gained-putting in winning for the seventh time at API, and combined with a T1 rank in greens in regulation (57 of 72) that’s a deadly combination. With Woods putting well again right now (6th in SGP this season), there’s no reason he won’t contend again.
8 Number of victories for Sam Snead at the Greater Greensboro Open, the PGA TOUR record for most wins at a single event. … Snead won Greensboro in 1938, ’46, ’49, ’50, ’55, ’56, ’60 and ’65. Woods has won two events seven times – the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, which is of course this week at Bay Hill. Woods, the defending champion who is 108 under par in 15 starts at API, surely will have his mind on making history this week.
11 No doubt, Shawn Stefani’s sand save streak was impressive despite ending at Tampa Bay. At 11 in a row, it’s tied with Lee Janzen for the longest on TOUR this season. … Stefani saved eight of 11 from the bunkers on the week, seventh in sand save percentage, leading to a career-best T7. Stefani is 32 of 47 in sand saves this season, which ranks third on TOUR.
18 Consecutive cuts made for Billy Horschel after a T56 at Tampa Bay to match Ian Poulter for the longest streak on TOUR. … Horschel last missed a cut at the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship. In those 18 events, he’s tallied a trio of top-11 finishes, two this season. Horschel is currently 51st in FedExCup points.
21 Consecutive fairways hit between the third and fourth rounds for Justin Leonard, the longest streak of the tournament. … Keeping it in the short grass is vital at the Copperhead Course and Leonard split the second-most fairways on the week at 78.85 percent, up drastically from the 62.43 percent he was hitting entering the week. Driving accuracy led Leonard to a T4, his first top 5 in a traditional PGA TOUR event since the 2011 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
No. 27 Since 1983, there have been 1,312 stroke play champions on the PGA TOUR. Streelman is only the 27th champion who has been ranked 70th or worse after the first round. … Streelman carded a first-round 73 at Tampa Bay (T70) before moving up to T31 with a 2-under 69 in Round 2. He didn’t make a bogey or worse over his final 37 holes and the rest is history.
115 Number of spots Adam Scott has moved up in scrambling from year-end 2012 to 2013. … Scott spent extra time on his short game this offseason -- toss in some surfing, too -- and it shows. Scott ranks T13 in scrambling (67.50 percent), T18 in sand save percentage (62.50 percent) and even a modest 78th in strokes gained-putting (.090) this season. For 2012, he was 128th in scrambling (55.87 percent), T127 in sand saves (45.74 percent) and 148th in SGP (-.204). Could this be an indication that Scott just might break through in a major for the first time in 2013? We’ll have to wait and see.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS ARCHIVE
Week 2: Sony Open/Humana Challenge
Week 10: WGC-Cadillac/Tampa Bay Championship
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- After finishing third last week at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship, Adam Scott flew off to get an early preview of Augusta National.
Joining him on the trip: Ernie Els.
Awkward? Not for these longtime friends, even after Els’ second British Open crown came in large part to Scott’s slow-motion implosion over Royal Lytham’s final four holes.
“Whether he won it, or I helped him win it a little bit – it doesn’t matter. He won it,” Scott said after Friday’s second-round 66 moved him into contention at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank.
“It probably eased the pain a little bit that he’s a close friend of mine, and I could feel some happiness for him.”
Likewise, Els was profuse in his sympathy almost from the moment he took possession of the Claret Jug. Their friendship goes back to when Scott was just starting to make a name for himself, when Els already had won two majors.
Scott, 32, stood at the doorstep of his first major with four holes to play at Royal Lytham, with Els having already completed his round.
Instead, four bogeys provided a stunning reversal of fortune as Els ended a 10-year drought in majors.
“He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen on a golf course,” said Scott, who also took part in an Els for Autism event Monday before they took off for Augusta. “I’ve played so much golf with him and seen him do such incredible things. I think he could have won 10 majors, so he’s paid his dues.”
Rather than lament his loss, Scott takes heart in the fact that he’s now making noise in majors after nearly a decade of silence.
“It was a long time (that) I didn’t really look like I was a major contender,” he said, “and now I feel like I am. So I feel like now’s my time; it’s up to me to make it happen.
“Everyone’s path to that success is different. I mean, (Phil) Mickelson knocked on the door for years and years and then the floodgates opened for him. I’ve gotten my game to a point where I feel like I’m right there. Hopefully I can get the first one, and then we’ll see.”
MARANA, Ariz. -- Tim Clark won the 16th and 17th holes with pars to break open a tight match with Adam Scott and take a 2-up victory.
Scott only led twice in the match, for one hole each time, with the first advantage coming as conditions worsened on Wednesday and play was suspended. Scott made an 8-footer for birdie to sqaure the match at No. 7 and then went back to the hotel with a 1-up advantage after Clark bogeyed the par-5 eighth.
The two competitors came back out on Thursday and traded wins at Nos. 9, 10 and 11, which Clark won with a 6-foot birdie putt to square the match again. The next three holes were halved with pars and the 15th with a birdie before Clark broke away at the end.