Date: June 17, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ US Open

I’m ready for Open, says Scott

If ownership of a problem means a step on the road to a solution, Adam Scott has run a mile along that path in the past month.

Scott today confessed to his putting woes, professed he’d found a solution to them, admitted he’d lacked energy through this season – and clearly thrived in the return of old pal Steve Williams as his US Open caddie.

It seemed genuinely cathartic to a man who was No.1 at this time last year and has watched a string of life changes escalate into a slide to No.12.

And he is confident that trend is at an end.

The Queenslander forewent the Memorial Tournament a fortnight ago to focus exclusively on this week’s US Open.

So much so that he arrived in Washington a week ago and has played seven rounds around Chambers Bay before another nine holes today, then nine more tomorrow before show time.

And as others scramble to plot a path around this coastal beast, Scott’s already clearly at home.

“I have what I think is a pretty good handle on it,” he said with the confident smile the golfing world came to know so well in 2013 and 2014.

“I think it was a really valuable week I had here last week and obviously I feel as comfortable as anyone on this track now, I’ve seen it a lot.

“It’s a course that probably unless you played it every day for a year you are going to see something new all the time, so you just have to do the best you can and the way to handle that is the better you play the less surprises there will be.

“I feel like I have my game in good shape, the next two days are important to keep it in the (right) spot and I am excited to play Thursday morning to be honest.

“It will be nice to get out there and go.”

And when he does, Scott will finally be packing some confidence that long since drained from his putter.

The 2013 Masters champ said a host of life changes – not least of which is new fatherhood – had also been a factor in his slide.

“It has been a transition this first six months (of 2015) both on and off the golf course and … the last month things have calmed down a little,” he said.

“Certainly the results haven’t been as good but I have hit the ball well and to sum it up I have putted average this year, inconsistently, probably worse than average to be fair.

“Even though it feels good, I simply put it down to poor alignment and that’s not ideal because it can feel good and putts don’t go in if you don’t aim it in the right place.

“So I have worked hard on that and I think everything is looking on track and hopefully turn those average results into good ones.”

Scott, 35, is so far under the radar here this week that he couldn’t crack it for a formal media conference among the more than dozen scheduled – a truly remarkable change in less than a year and one in which he’s revelling.

“Absolutely,” he said.

“But I feel like the game is all good. It is just little things and while it is just little things it’s nothing to panic about.

“Just the putting alignment, it takes some time and a bit of practice. It is going to be tough putting this week that’s for sure but I feel the rest of my game is solid enough to handle the US Open.”

Scott said his refined putting stroke and the return of the previously “retired” Williams as his major championship caddie for the remainder of the season would hopefully give him the spark he’s lacked.

“We have spent three or so years playing with him at a really high level and enjoying that energy.

“It is tough to maintain that — there is a lot of strain and pressure doing that — and there has been a bit of a letdown on my side the last six months from that and this is the thing to get me back up there.

“I think he is excited as well … and hopefully the old spark lights up again (because) I’m just trying to get something going. I have just struggled with that this year and I think this will help.”

Scott predicted a total score over par would win this week on a course he predicted would suit ball-strikers because of its length and precision long irons.

“There are massive big fairways, but they are made smaller because it is firm and they are undulating,” he said.

“Even though it looks open and inviting you have to be careful to be in the right … because with the speed in the afternoon it becomes hard to get the ball near the hole.

“This will favour a long hitter playing well, there is no doubt.

“Long and high and straight will be really helpful which is the same everywhere but certainly here.

“It is very severe, it is extreme, maybe unlike any course I have ever played with elevation change and just the scale and proportion of things are extreme as well.

“It certainly took me a few day to get my eye fitted to this kind of space.”