Date: March 07, 2016
Author: Bernie McGuire, Miami

Scott praises Rumford short game magic

Adam Scott trumped his rivals winning the WGC – Cadillac Championship in a manner he described as “ugly, but good”.

Scott, brilliant winner of last week’s Honda Classic, went into the final round on the Blue Monster course in most minds an afterthought given Rory McIlroy led by a commanding three shots in the first big showdown among the world's best in 2016.

And while Scott birdied the first to get within two shots of the four-time major winning McIlroy, the Australian's chance of winning back-to-back for only a second time in his career faded horribly when he doubled the third and took a similar double bogey at the fifth hole.

As Scott walked down the sixth he was, in fact, six shots off the pace.

But the Queenslander never gave in.

Scott mounted a counter-attack first with a birdie at the sixth hole and then muscling his way back into contention with three birdies in succession from the 10th hole.

The 35-year old then went into the lead at 12 under par when he managed a seventh birdie of his round at the 14th hole.

Scott parred the next three to head to the last still enjoying a one-shot lead before sending his final drive right of the fairway and with his ball behind a palm tree but not totally blocked out in playing approach.

His second shot hit the left rear bank of the hazard guarding the green, and with Scott's ball coming to rest on the grassy slope just inside the hazard line.

After much deliberation, Scott played a superb chip shot to 2.5m before the joy of seeing his par putt drop for a back-nine score 32 –five shots fewer than his outward half of 37.

“I really can't believe it,” was Scott's reaction.

“I don't think I've processed what's happened, especially today's round. It was ugly and good, all in 18 holes.

“It just feels great to win my second World Golf Championship.”

When Scott speaks of playing ugly but good, a check of his four rounds reveals one eagle – at the 10th hole on day one – 22 birdies, but also eight bogeys and a pair of double bogeys on the last day.

“It's just bizarre because I hit some horrible shots today,” he said with a giggle.

“I think you have this picture in your mind that you've got to play so beautifully to win all the time and sometimes, especially at a golf course like this, in windy conditions like this, it can't be that pretty unless you play one of the rounds of your life.

“It was hard for everyone out there and I told myself that a couple times out there today.

“But … I'm really proud that I was able to come back when it wasn't feeling good after five holes and the swing had not felt good the whole weekend at that point, and managed to find my rhythm again in these windy conditions.

“All of a sudden it felt a little easier on the back nine.”

The win was Scott's 13th PGA Tour victory title and his 28th professional triumph worldwide.

He is the second Australian to win back-to-back on the PGA Tour in just seven months after Jason Day captured a first major winning the US PGA Championship and teed up in New Jersey a fortnight later to win the Barclay's Championship crown.

It is also Scott's second WGC title success after winning the 2011 WGC – Bridgestone Invitational.

In his first three starts of 2016, Scott has finished T2nd at the Northern Trust Open and now two wins in succession.

He was handed a first prize cheque of $US1,620,000 and also leapt to the top of the FedEx Cup points table.

And Scott has moved to seventh overall on the PGA Tour list of leading career money winners with earnings of $US42,807,236.

Scott had moved World No.9 with last week's victory at PGA National and his success an hour's drive south to suburban Miami will push him to World No.6 tomorrow.

And it prompted the question if Scott can see himself getting the better of golf's “20-something” stars and return to World No.1 –a position he enjoyed in July 2o14.

“I set myself a mini-goal starting the year or back end of last year was to try and get back to world No. 1,” he revealed.

“I think it's a fair goal, because I've been there before and if you get to that point, I think I'm going to achieve what I want in the game. So that's probably a bit of a long-term goal.

“I wasn't thinking I should just get there by, you know, September this year or something.

“(But) over the next couple of years, give myself a chance to play consistently well and move back up there and get back to No.1 and hopefully some wins and another major comes along in that time.

“It would be amazing to get back there.”

And among the first text messages Scott received was from Perth's Brett Rumford.

Scott had singled Rumford out for special mention last week in winning at PGA National and the putting grip tip that “Rummy” had offered Scott in late 2014 at the Metropolitan Club in Melbourne during the Australian Masters.

“Well, that's funny you say that. I just picked up my phone walking in here and the first message I saw was from Rummy who said he was watching,” he said.

“I haven't sent Brett a cheque (laughing) and I'd appreciate it if you didn't print any of this so he doesn't get any ideas, Bernie.

“But I watched him put on a short-game clinic at Lake Karrinyup on the highlights last week at the Perth International and he was pulling the pin out from 30 yards and chipping in and stuff.

“That's one of the beautiful things about this game is sharing information and knowledge and feelings and stuff between pros – and Rummy is probably too generous with his short game advice and we have all benefitted from it. 

“So thanks, Brett.”