Date: March 24, 2014
Author: Mike Clayton /

Clayton: Scott must question putter again

Golf played at its very best is such a beautiful game to watch. Over the generations Sam Snead, Tom Weiskopf, Severiano Ballesteros and Ernie Els and the greatest woman player Mickey Wright have shown how athletic grace and power can be employed so elegantly into the swinging of a club. Adam Scott is his generations standard for stylish play and this week in Orlando he was within reaching distance of ascending to the top of the world ranking. Whether a statistical point here or there means anything is very debatable especially in an era totally dominated by Tiger Woods. Woods recent form has been poor by his standards but anyone who plays in his time is sentenced to a support role no matter how successful or how talented. Scott fumbled his way to a poor score on Sunday when a seemingly simple one-over par 73 would have won him Arnold Palmer s tournament at Bay Hill. His 76 was a round blighted by five bogeys and a single birdie but it was not one marked by any measure with poor swings and bad decisions. The eventual winner Matt Every looked home as early as the 16th tee but he made an awful attempt at chipping out of the right trees on the easy par five, 16th and ended up making a six. Scott now had some hope and after driving perfectly he hit one of his patented high, drawn six irons to within fifteen feet of the hole. Every in the meantime dumped an iron into the front bunker at the difficult par three to follow. Here was Scott s chance but as he had done so disastrously at Royal Lytham s 16th green, Muirfield s 15th and Royal Sydney s 16th only last December he three putted by misjudging the first putt and then missing badly what was left back up the hill. Every hit a great bunker shot, Adam found the same bunker but instead of saving three he missed from seven feet and it was all over. In the end it was Keagan Bradley who had a chance to tie by making a birdie at the 72nd hole but he missed from long range. Both Scott and his long putter will be forever be excused because of his extraordinary finish at Augusta a year ago but he must question his losing of big events from winning positions and the role his putter has played. Here is a distortion of the concept of putting employed because it seemingly dissipates the influence of shaky nerves and hands. Clearly the evidence of Scott s putter is it isn t all it is cracked up to be under the severest of pressure. Maybe the short one promises less but with only a fortnight until Augusta the beautifully elegant Australian had a chance to go to Georgia with a huge boost of confidence. Instead he will be left wondering about the questions his fumbling Bay Hill weekend posed.