Date: June 12, 2014
Author: Martin Blake /

Scott primed to turn corner at U.S Open

Scott is primed to address his moderate record in the United States Open when the year's second major tees off tonight at Pinehurst's famous No. 2 course in North Carolina.

Scott is at a loss to explain his record in the US Open, which amounts to a best of tied-15th in 12 starts.

"It's hard to put a finger on a lot of it,'' he said today. "I've talked to you all about ten years of playing pretty average, by my own expectations in Majors, and tried to improve that the last few years, and I think I've done a good job, but maybe not quite as good at the US Open. However, I felt, at Olympic (in 2012), I played very well the last 60 holes or so, after a really bad start on Thursday.

"And the confidence grew last year. I battled a little bit, maybe it's coincidence that I haven't had my best stuff at a US Open. But I certainly feel like where my game's at now, and the past few years, I should be able to compete here. I'm trying to build a game that can play anywhere. So it's a good week for me to kind of turn the corner and get in contention. I think this course sets up well to me.''

Pinehurst is a golf resort with nine brilliant courses, of which No. 2 is the most famous, having hosted the Open before. Last time it was here, in 2005, Michael Campbell of New Zealand held off Tiger Woods to win. Scott played that week, but did not contend, but he is a different player now, the world's No. 1 ranked player and the best-performed player in majors over the past three years, including his win in the Masters at Augusta National last year.

He is one of the favorites this week along with Rory McIlroy, and he welcomes the different look of Pinehurst, with its lack of deep, grassy rough. Players who miss the fairway will find themselves negotiating big waste areas of sand. "Well, I think the beauty about the game of golf is that we can have such different parameters to play in and all golf courses are unique and some have certain similarities, but there's such a wide range of the way to challenge any golfer, and certainly us,'' said Scott. "If you look at this to Augusta,to TPC Sawgrass, some of our great championships are played on them and they're all completely different. So that's the beauty of golf. And it's hard to say that — I don't know what they're calling it, but it's not lack of rough off the fairways here. And if you spend the week playing out of that, you're not going to do well. So I would say there's plenty of rough out there.''

Scott's form is excellent, with a win in the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Colonial just two starts back, and he was in contention in the Memorial Tournament, too. Above all his putting is better than ever; he is 15th on the important strokes-gained putting statistic for the tour this year, compared with 102nd in 2013 and 148th in 2012.

Pinehurst is long at 7562 yards (6915 metres), with four par-fours that stretch beyond 500 yards and several long par-threes. At par of 70, it is hard to see too many players in red numbers this week. It will play as the second-longest US Open course in history.

Several players have compared Pinehurst to the Melbourne sandbelt, a notion that Scott agreed with. "There are obviously similarities, because there are options. I think that's what all those courses give you when you're just off the surface. You have options on how to play it. They're all very demanding, here maybe the most. It's hard to say, depending which area you miss it in. There are some areas which you really don't want to find yourself and then there are some other areas which are fairly playable and you'll get away with missing. Everyone is going to miss a few more greens this week than they're used to. So they better be ready for that. And patience will be tested.