Date: March 30, 2017
Author: Bernie McGuire, Houston, Texas

Scott offers Luck a Masters hand

Australia's only Masters champion Adam Scott has reached out to Curtis Luck to join him next week in an official Augusta National practice round.

The 20-year old Luck brilliantly qualified for his maiden Masters via two categories, first in brilliantly capturing the 2016 U.S. Amateur and then also in sealing victory later last year in the Asia-Pacific Amateur championship.

And with Scott to drive down Magnolia Lane for a 16th straight year the Queenslander would be delighted to help his Perth-born compatriot with his Masters preparations.

"I wasn’t at Bay Hill when Curtis played in the Arnold Palmer but then he does have my email address, so I hope he does get in contact with me because I would love to play a practice round with him as he’s a very likeable young fellow," Scott said.

"I enjoyed so much playing alongside him when I was back in Australia last summer, so I will leave to him to email me.

"But then these young kids are so good that he knows what he’s doing so it won’t be a case of coaching him around the course as it’s not for me to interfere in that aspect of his game.

"Though if he has questions on how to play the course and where to hit it and where not to hit it, as I am sure he will, then I will be only to winning to help out.

"I do like the style he brings to the game and I am interested to see how he performs next week."

Of course, it will the proud Cottesloe golfer’s last event as an amateur as Luck confirmed during the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational he will turn professional immediately following the Masters.  And as the reigning US Amateur champion, Luck has been afforded nine subsequent PGA Tour invitations.

But while Scott praised Luck’s ability and achievements in the amateur ranks, he advised a solitary focus on the Masters while the opportunity availed itself.

"It’s easy to say to Curtis to just go to Augusta and enjoy the week but my advice would be to put everything into it you possibly can," Scott said.

"The thing is that in turning pro, which rumour has it he is, then it could be a long road as a professional to get back there because as long as it took him, and all those years of practice, to get into the Masters, he is, from the week after Augusta, going to have to start again at the bottom.

"So, he’s got to enjoy the week, but there’s no doubt Curtis is quite capable of finishing top-16 and getting himself back there next year and if that happens, it would be a great achievement."

The world No.7 ranked Scott spoke before this week’s $US7m Houston Open, an event Scott won a decade ago, the seventh of his now 13 wins on the US PGA Tour.

?And while Scott is clearly focused on joining Stuart Appleby (1999 & 2006) as the only Australian to win twice in America’s fourth largest city, he’s also like 28 other players in the field ?who have one eye on next week’s Masters.

And that means very much being fitted with a second Augusta National green jacket.

"Winning Majors doesn’t come easy, but I would love to win a second Masters and hopefully that would open the floodgates to winning as many as I possibly can," Scott said.

"It’s great to celebrate any victory and the first one will always have extra significance but I think the Masters is almost bigger than the game of golf and it’s one of those rare sporting events basically everyone in golf celebrates."

Scott is among a large contingent of seven Australians competing this week on the Golf Club of Houston that was pounded near noon on Wednesday by torrential rain as mobile phone users were sent a "tornado warning" that, fortunately, did not materialise.

Joining Scott are past champions Robert Allenby (2000) and Matt Jones (2014). along with the dual winner Appleby.

Steven Bowditch, Cameron Smith and Geoff Ogilvy are also in the field.

With the exception of Scott, the other six Aussies are seeking the last invitation into next week’s Masters.