TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola interview: Adam ScottSeptember 18, 2013
MORE INTERVIEWS: TOUR Championship transcripts archive
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Adam Scott into the interview room here at the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola. He's the 2006 champion of this event, and he enters the week No. 3 in the FedEx Cup. Adam, welcome back to East Lake.
ADAM SCOTT: Thank you, John.
THE MODERATOR: We can get comments on an incredible year and also this week, controlling your own destiny in the TOUR Championship.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's been a great year for sure, but I think this week counts so much for me and how the year will be remembered by myself and others, for that matter. There's so much to play for. Two trophies here this week. And also potentially throwing my name in a Player of the Year debate, which I think is quite a prestigious honor amongst the company that I play golf against.
So to come back to East Lake, where I've had some previous success and I feel like I've played a lot of good golf here over the years and haven't completely capitalized on it. I've played a lot of great first two rounds and then kind of just drifted off on the weekend, unable to stay right in the hunt.
So this week it would be great to be in there coming down the last few holes, and it will be very exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for that. We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Adam, you were playing a schedule that was sort of a Steve Stricker‑like schedule before Steve Stricker. How did you arrive at that, and why does that work for you, do you think?
ADAM SCOTT: I guess the simplest answer is that I ‑‑ I was frustrated and disappointed in my performance in big events for the most part of my career, and my coach and I identified that I really needed to change something, even change something drastically and not be afraid to do that and find a way that I can somewhat peak ‑‑ be ready to peak at the right events.
That's what we had to do.
We had to cut out some events, and I had to be disciplined to put the work in when I was away from the golf course, which I've done, and I think you can't take for granted that just playing ‑‑ playing a lot of golf is going to hold up to four days of Major pressure or World Golf Championship pressure or the TOUR Championship pressure. There's got to be a lot of preparation and practice that goes into your swing and putting and chipping holding up to that kind of pressure, consistently.
It might just show up one week, but it hadn't really done it for me. So we had to change something and lighten the playing load and somehow increase the practice load and find the balance. The past couple years, I've had a good balance.
Q. You mentioned the player of the year award. What do you think your chances are, A, and how big a role do you think this last week could potentially play in that, in deciding that argument?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, for me, I think, like I just said before, I really need to win to even throw my name in the hat there. Then it could be possible.
And it's probably the same for a couple of other guys as well. So I think it's really fun to be in this position where I could potentially come out as player of the year, but it's a tough one. I don't know how the rest of the guys will see it. It's something that I haven't spoken to anyone about in there. So I don't know how they all think.
Q. When you put your little ‑‑ your plan in place to play less, do you recall what was the first ‑‑ exactly when you did that and what was your first major?
ADAM SCOTT: It was the start of the 2011 season when I decided to do that.
Q. So it was the Master's?
ADAM SCOTT: It was the Master's, yeah.
Q. If you had not contented at that Master's, would you have wondered if it was working?
ADAM SCOTT: I might have given up more than just one Major. I try not to be completely reactive. When I was making those decisions on how I structure myself golf‑wise, it was with the long term in mind.
So I think I was probably prepared to give it at least a season or two to see if it worked out. I just ‑‑ I think I got stuck in the routine of just trying to play my way through some poor form, which can work.
But what I've learned the last couple of years is that playing in contention in big tournaments takes a lot of energy, and if you're playing a lot of golf, then I just don't think you can maintain that high level the whole time.
Q. Adam, has there been something necessarily they've done with the course in the past here that's presented some challenges to you on the weekends?
ADAM SCOTT: No. I just think I haven't played as well on the weekends as I would have liked. But it is a tricky course, and as soon as you're out of position, it demands a lot of you to save a par, and it's not easy to ‑‑ especially if you short side yourself around here.
And I expect nothing different this week. You're going to have to play four solid days. So hopefully, I've done enough work over the last couple of days that my game will hold up to four days of a tough test.
Q. Back to Player of the Year, if I could throw some ifs at you, if you were to finish outright second here and still win the FedEx Cup, does that put you in the discussion? And also, you mentioned that it's hard to judge what ‑‑ where it would sit if you did win. If Phil Mickelson won this week, would you give him your vote for player of the year?
ADAM SCOTT: I haven't thought about it, so I'm trying to compute all that at the moment. It would be hard not to give him the vote, but then he has three wins with a Major and Tiger has five wins and Phil has the FedEx Cup. I think it's a pretty strong case to say Phil.
But if you feel like five wins is more impressive, you can put Tiger. I don't really know. I think you've got a strong case to argue for both. So that's why it could go any way. I don't know how all the other guys see it.
Q. And if you were second here but won the Cup, are you still in the race?
ADAM SCOTT: I mean, I should say yes. So just in case that happens, maybe they think that's important.
I don't really ‑‑ don't really know. I think winning is a big thing, and I think the history of whoever's won Player of the Year has had multiple wins, and that carries a lot of weight.
Q. Adam, you were talking about your schedule change before 2011. I think that was about the time you put in the new putter and started going ‑‑ and shortly after the sort of confidence boost that the Presidents Cup had given you. When you put all those things together, what do you think had the biggest impact on your results in the Majors the last few years, and what do you think's worked the best?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think a combination of all the things. It wasn't just changing my schedule. I changed the way I played in big tournaments. That was part of it. There are a lot of ‑‑ I think a lot of drastic changes.
I changed ‑‑ I worked really hard on my short game. I worked really hard on my putting. I tried a completely new method of putting, which, you know, I had five weeks to get right. I've never putted like that before, and I had five weeks to get it right before I brought it on Tour.
Some of these guys have been putting ‑‑ well, all of them ‑‑ the way they putt for their whole life. So I had to make a big adjustment there.
And just to be disciplined to stick with my plan of practicing a lot when I'm at home. But I found that quite easy to do it actually because I enjoyed it a lot more because I knew what I was working towards. I wasn't working towards just playing a lot of tournaments. I was working towards the Master's or the World Golf Championship or the U.S. Open.
There was a specific time when I really wanted to peak, and the other tournaments, yes, they're important, but they were part of the process. And obviously, winning them is good for the confidence.
So I wanted to play ‑‑ I practiced the way to play the best I could every time I teed up is what I felt.
Q. When you made your putt on 18 at Augusta and leaned back and did the Come on Ozzy and the whole moment, which is a great moment, at what point did you realize what Leishman was doing behind you?
ADAM SCOTT: I didn't know.
Q. When did you find out?
ADAM SCOTT: I found out in the next couple of days. I think quite a few of the Aussie caddies sent me that picture of Leishman pumping his fist behind, which I was blown away by, and I immediately texted Marc after that because that's one of my favorite things of the whole experience.
I mean, I had ‑‑ from that point of that putt going in for the next two hours was just a wealth of incredible experiences that your senses can't handle all that stuff.
But then when I saw that with Leish, now I look back on that as one of my favorite things at Augusta and an incredible sense of national pride there and what a top bloke he is for that kind of reaction.
Because he ‑‑ 30 minutes, 40 minutes before, he had just as good a chance as me to win. So it's a big thing to think you've got a chance to win the Master's, and then you're standing on the 18th green and you know you don't, but to have the character to stand there and be happy for someone else is ‑‑ just says a lot about Marc for sure.
Q. Secondly, when you ‑‑ you've always gone home and supported the home Tour for all these years. How much different do you expect it's going to be this time around?
ADAM SCOTT: Sure, I expect it to be different. I hope that I get the chance to celebrate with everyone down there what I've achieved. Part of it is me to say thank you for everyone who's put into my game, the Australian public, and then people in golf too have supported me the whole way as well.
So I look forward to that very much. I hope they're excited still about it because I am. And I think it will be a fun month back at home to see everyone and to be able to take the green jacket down to Australia will be a really fun experience because I get a kick out of ‑‑ the best thing since winning the Master's is just getting a kick out of people seeing the green jacket and just can't believe that's actually a green jacket. It's the most fun for me.
Q. Where is it now?
ADAM SCOTT: It's here with me. It comes pretty much everywhere. I wear it in my hotel room all the time just by myself.
Q. Do you check it or do you take it carry on?
ADAM SCOTT: Sometimes it gets packed away, but I don't mind carrying it around.
Q. Adam, if you could, what, if anything, would you change about the FedEx Cup Playoffs, or are you okay with it the way it is right now?
ADAM SCOTT: I think we've all got our heads around it now. I think it's ‑‑ you know, it's volatile, and it's harsh, but it gives opportunity. I think you've just got to go with it, and you've just got to know that you've got to finish up in the top few in an even.
If you've had a good year, it can be harsh because, if you don't then finish first, second, or third in any of the playoff events, you're probably going to move backwards for the week. So it's all about a great performance in the playoff events.
The last couple years, I've had pretty solid years and then top ten, fifth, and sixth, and I just go backwards each week, and that's tough to swallow because you want to get to East Lake in the top five. The way to do that is win a playoff event, and this year that's happened.
So I sit here and think it's great now this year, but I was cursing it last year because I played well and go backwards.
But then Luke Donald and Nick Watney do big jumps last week. I think we've all got our heads around what works and what's going to happen. Nothing's unexpected now.
So, again, I think it's working well. Everyone here this week actually has a chance to win the whole thing.
Q. Peaking for the Majors makes a lot of sense. It's a model used in other sports. What do you think keeps more players from adopting that strategy?
ADAM SCOTT: It could be a lot of things. I mean, everyone has a different mindset, and everyone plays good golf differently. I decided to just do what I felt was best for me, and some other golfers who have been very successful have done something similar.
Nicklaus didn't play a lot, and Tiger followed his model, and he did well as well not playing a lot. I'm not surprised that Steve Stricker has played well.
I don't know what they do when they're not at a golf tournament. I hardly know what they do when they're at a golf tournament, but they're obviously coming out here feeling like they're going to play well, and they're excited to be out here. I think, for me, 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. And there's a lot to play for every week out here. There are massive purses and a lot of prestigious tournaments to play for. But you've got to make some sacrifices maybe for a big reward.
THE MODERATOR: Adam Scott, thank you, sir.