Date: March 29, 2016
Author: Robert Grant

Bubba is Masters favourite: Scott

Adam Scott has named Bubba Watson as favourite for next month's Masters Tournament at Augusta.

Despite having won two events in succession – the Honda Classic and the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Scott still believes the American should be rated above him in the odds.

Watson is a dual Masters winner – taking the green jacket in 2014 and 2012 while Scott won in 2013. The pair have duelled for success leading up to the first major of the year and on paper Scott would appear to have a clear edge.

Before his back-to-back wins this year, the Australian was runner-up in the Northern Trust Open – a tournament Watson won. Adding to the intrigue is Watson's second place finish in the Cadillac event.

Scott believes Augusta National is a course tailor-made for Watson's unconventional game.

"Even if I won every tournament I play before the Masters, if Bubba keeps finishing second, I'd still think he's favoured," Scott said.

"It just sets up so good there for him. Obviously his record there is amazing the last couple of years. He's got to be feeling great about his game.

"You know, I'm happy if my name is in the mix. I wouldn't shy away from it. I'm not just trying to put the pressure on Bubba, but he's obviously playing fantastic. He won L.A. and second (at the Cadillac), and Augusta around the corner, he's got to be thinking this is looking really good for him."

Scott, though, agreed his recent charge had boosted his confidence but said the problem was to maintain it through to the Masters and not try to force anything.

"I'd love to just bottle up where my game's been at the last couple weeks and move forward a month," he said.

"That's going to be the hard thing for me to do is to manage my expectations and also manage my game to keep it right here.

"You know, I can't just keep pushing. I have to pace myself kind of so I don't over-work it and try and get too prepared and do all that. It's finding that balance the next month for me that's going to be really important, but obviously the confidence is going to be high right now. So I just want to do everything to keep that there."

Some betting agencies have Rory McIlroy the outright first pick to win at Augusta – and Scott backed up that selection by comparing where the two players were at the same age.

At 26, McIlroy is nine years younger that Scott, but wiser and more composed than the Australian was at that age.

"Not to say that I have more experience than Rory, because he's won four majors and played in this position a lot in his 26 years already," Scott said.

"And when I was that age, or 10 years ago, I had not, and I didn't know how to think – or to think it's a hard course. Everyone's going to have their struggles today. I probably thought, oh, it had to be so perfect and if it wasn't, you didn't have a chance and I didn't manage my mind or my game well at that point.

But during the Cadillac Scott said that he buried that concept. 

"You know, I kind of went against my own theory because I tried and avoided doubles, and worse, because they are very costly. And somehow, I think because I was playing so well, I got away with it.

"To understand when you have to miss a green and scramble from 30 yards for par, rather than risk hitting it in the water is important….it's those things, and when you execute them, getting it up-and-down for par feels as good as making a birdie.

"And I think a few of those things certainly helped me. I guess I just know how to play tougher golf courses in the bigger tournaments better than 10 years ago."