Date: March 18, 2013

Grant Report – Breakthrough for Scott on eve of Masters

Australian golf star Adam Scott has revealed a breakthrough with his short game at home in Queensland recently has him poised for another stellar performance at next month’s US Masters.

Scott had a mixed week at the Tampa Bay Championship in Palm Harbour, Florida, finishing in a tie for 30th, square with the card and 10 shots astray of American winner Kevin Streelman.

However he said that he was well on the way to having the best short game of his career, after steady progression over recent years.

"It was getting better last year," Scott said. "I think it’s improved the last three years, but I just wanted it to keep progressing.

"I just kept working at it during the off-season, and one day was kind of a bit of a breakthrough out there and everything started falling into place.

Scott said his short game reached new heights as he worked on it at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.

He said the improvement had taken a lot of pressure off other parts of his game and allowed him to swing more freely.

"The consistency and strike was there, how I wanted it. Somehow I’ve managed to keep that for a couple months now, so it’s feeling good.

"But it’s reassuring to know that you don’t have to hit a perfect shot every time. You can go for your shot a little bit and the short game will be there to back you up. That’s allowed me to swing freely at the ball and I’m swinging from a good place right now.

"So everything I’m very comfortable with, where every part of my game’s at."

Scott said one day during a practice session he suddenly felt more comfortable than he had ever been.

"I just had a really nice feeling going that day, whatever it was, and I managed to get through the whole bag of balls hitting every chip the same without one jumping up and running on.

"Everything was very controlled and consistent. And after I had hit a bag, I thought to myself, I think that’s the best bunch of chips I’ve ever hit.

"And I just kept working on it, and that was kind of the point I didn’t look back from, so it’s felt good, and I’ve felt my confidence grow on the course with the pitching and chipping, too.

"It’s nice, because I felt like that my wedge play needed to have the most improvement and I think that’s the area of the most improvement."

Scott says the new-found accuracy around the greens means he is likely to maintain his composure throughout tournaments from tee to green.

According to the Queenslander unless all parts of a player’s game were working in synch, he could be in danger of eventually losing faith even in those parts which were working well.
"That’s kind of on the other end of a downward spiral, whether it starts with the short game or long game, pressure gets on one, and eventually if it’s not relieved, it’s all going to break down," Scott said.

"I would say in 2009, I was hitting the ball poorly, and there was just so much pressure on the short game that it just wasn’t good enough to make up for the long game.

"So eventually, not only do you lose confidence with your long game, you lose it with the short game, too, because you just can’t get every ball up-and-down from where you hit it.

"But it works in reverse, fortunately, also – when you start chipping better, it frees up your long game and you can start hitting it better. And I don’t have to use my short game that much out here. I’m not missing any greens, but it’s nice when you miss a couple that you feel really good and confident that you can walking up there and get it up-and-down."

While Scott was the second best Australian finisher at Tampa Bay, Victorian Marc Leishman came home in a share of 38th.

Geoff Ogilvy, puzzlingly, continued his reverse trend after a glimpse recently that he had returned to his best form.

Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby finished five over the card in a tie for 61st place, behind Aaron Baddeley, who struggled to finish just one shot better overall.

By: Robert Grant