Date: April 09, 2014
Author: Peter Thompson, Omnisport

Scott bullish ahead of Masters defence

Adam Scott enjoyed his finest hour at the Masters last year and the world number two is determined to don the green jacket again on Sunday.

Scott shed his 'choker' tag by winning his first major at Augusta 12 months ago, denying Angel Cabrera in a play-off at the second extra hole – the 10th – in gloomy conditions.

He also became the first Australian to win the Masters and the 33-year-old heads back to the famous Georgia course this week full of confidence that he can write another glorious chapter in his impressive career.

With world number one Tiger Woods ruled out of the eagerly awaited event for the first time in his career due to a back injury, Scott is among the favourites and the reigning champion believes that he can live up to that billing.

He said: "Going back there will be a really nice experience. I'm sure every time I play the 10th, I won't be able to help but think back to late that Sunday afternoon.

"I've got a pretty good recipe at the moment and I'm trying to always improve but I've got a pretty solid base. I think after the frustration at the end of 2010, of not really achieving what I wanted in the big events, I sat down to rethink everything about how I go about golf and life.

"I made a lot of changes, not all at once, but made some big changes to the way I prepared and scheduled. I started doing things to suit me, what I felt was right and less about what other people think is right, and you know, it's kind of accumulated into me performing better."

Scott, Henrik Stenson and Jason Day also have the incentive of being able to replace Woods as the world number one when they tee off for their first rounds on Thursday.

If Scott finishes in at least a two-way tie for third he will be ranked as the best golfer on the planet, while world number three Stenson needs a two-way tie for second or better and Day needs a win to rise three places in the rankings.

Rory McIlroy is also fancied to win his first green jacket as he heads to Augusta on the back of carding an impressive 65 in the final round of the Houston Open to secure a top-10 finish.

The Northern Irishman said ahead of the Masters: "I know the course, I know what challenges it is going to present.

"It's just about making sure you can execute the shots that you want to. I feel like I am one of a handful of guys that are hopefully going to be up there (with a chance to win).

"It was nice to see some of the game that I feel like I have coming through. Hopefully I can show it a bit more (at the Masters) as well."

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar are among the leading American contenders to win the prestigious competition.