By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- Steve Stricker deciding to limit his schedule is nothing new.
Jack Nicklaus averaged 18 events a year for his career. Tiger Woods has followed suit.
It took a while, but Adam Scott finally figured out a couple of years ago that less might add up to more for him as well when it came to contending in big tournaments.
"I was frustrated and disappointed in my performance in big events for the most part of my career," Scott said. "I just got stuck in a routine of there's always another week. There's always going to be another major. There was 40‑something majors and I hadn't really even contended on Sunday.
"I just was so frustrated, it was time to do something radically different for me. I think I just got stuck in a pattern. That can easily happen out here."
From 2007 through 2010, Scott missed the cut in six of 16 majors and didn't have a single top 10.
Since the beginning of 2011, when he decided to cut a few tournaments out of his schedule, Scott has finished in the top 10 of majors 7 of 12 times, which included winning his first major title at the Masters this past April, and missed the cut just once.
"I was probably prepared to give it at least a season or two to see if it worked out," the Aussie said. "I got stuck in the routine of just trying to play my way through some poor form, which can work."
Just not for Scott.
The decision to part ways with Butch Harmon and return to his longtime coach Brad Malone, a switch to the long putter at the start of 2011 and a change in caddie to Steve Williams had significant impacts as well.
It wasn't about working harder, which Scott also did, but about working smarter.
"What I've learned the last couple of years is that being in contention in big tournaments takes a lot of energy," he said. "If you're playing a lot of golf, then I just don't think you can maintain that high level the whole time."
The end result is that Scott has been in contention a number of times this year, including in three of the year's four majors. He also won at last month's The Barclays.
All of it has helped put Scott in position to win his first FedExCup.
He enters this week's TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola third in the FedExCup standings and a win at East Lake would net him two trophies -- and the $10 million bonus.
It would garner some attention for Player of the Year honors, too.
"It's been a great year for sure," said Scott, who won here in 2006. "But I think this week counts so much for me and how the year will be remembered by myself and others, for that matter."