Transitional is the word that Adam Scott uses. The Australian tees it up again in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur today, still tinkering with his new, traditional-length putter. It is another major test of the man who broke Australia's drought at Augusta National two years ago.
Scott reached the No. 1 world ranking last year, but his 2015 has been patchy, spiced with two top-10 finishes in majors — fourth at the US Open, where he roared home on the final day, and 10th in the Open Championship, where he shot himself in the foot late. His world ranking has dipped to 14th.
The Queenslander began the year fiddling with his shafts — he felt his short iron play was not up to scratch — then became a father for the first time with his wife Marie, who delivered a daughter, Bo, in February.
"This year's been a bit of a transitional period in my life and also on the golf course,'' he told a media conference in Kuala Lumpur." There wasn't a great deal of consistency in my golf this year. And I think that was the difference between the previous years. I was extremely consistent.
"Things were always moving in the right direction, and that's where I have to get back to, to build the confidence and keep putting good score after good score together to compete with the likes of Jason Day and Jordan Spieth and Rory (McIlroy) at the top of the world.
"I feel like it's still, it's not very far away, it's a good couple months of golf, really, if you just look at what Jason Day did going into The Open Championship this year, I believe he was ranked ninth in the world and then nine weeks later he's No. 1. So, it's an incredible run of golf, but that's how quickly things can happen, if you get the momentum going.''
Scott is using a conventional Scotty Cameron putter in the CIMB, having abandoned his long putter in anticipation of the anchoring ban to come into place on January 1. He had recently said he might still use the long putter and merely de-anchor the implement, but at the Presidents Cup, he emerged with a new weapon and smashed Rickie Fowler in singles on the final day, playing some of his best golf.
"I started the week putting cross-handed at the Presidents Cup, but that only lasted a day and a half, and then I switched in the middle of my second match to an, I guess, a claw-style grip. And that's somewhat more how I was putting with the longer putter, or the hands looked similar in that respect.
"But it's been going well. I feel very comfortable with it. I had a nice day putting and a good match against Rickie Fowler on Sunday in the singles. And I felt it went well in Japan (last week), and it's continuing to feel good. And I'm looking forward to this week.
"It's something, a forced change, but sometimes they're good. And I'm very motivated and enthusiastic about my putting at the moment with this change, something I can really get stuck into and try and become the best putter I can be with this method now.''
Scott will be at home after this week's US and Asian Tour event to play in the Uniqlo Australian Masters at Huntingdale, followed by the Emirates Australian Open at The Australian.