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Opinion & Analysis

Why Adam Scott looks ready to mount a serious challenge at next week’s Masters

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It was six years ago when Adam Scott held his arms aloft in the rain after defeating Angel Cabrera in a gripping playoff on a rainy evening in Georgia, finally completing his lifelong dream of claiming a major championship.

Since then, Scott’s star has been on the wane, and he’s seen a new breed of youngsters come along and shake the game up, leaving the Australian to lurk in their shadows.

Scott currently sits 29th in the Official World Golf Ranking, a far cry from his position of third following his moment of glory at Augusta, and then his subsequent rise to the summit of the game in 2014.

However, his current position of 29th is up 12 places from where he found himself at the end of 2018, and a rise of 31 spots from where he stood this time 12 months ago. Scott’s stock is on the rise once again.

Speaking to the Augusta Chronicle last month, Scott spoke both confidently and optimistically about where his game is right now ahead of the year’s opening major, saying

“I feel I’m on top of my game, just at that point for me to go out and execute it. I’ve done the work, and I will do work before I get there, I’ll be ready. I’ve got a good plan. I’m very confident that I’ll be ready to play there.”

The 38-year-old heads to Augusta National under the radar, with talk of Rory McIlroy’s Grand Slam destiny, Tiger Woods’ quest for number 15, and Rickie Fowler’s fresh assault at major glory all dominating the narrative ahead of next week. But Scott’s confidence concerning his chances of becoming a multiple Masters champion is anything but bravado.

Scott has featured in the final group twice in his last five events he has played this year on Tour, and all departments of his game look sharp. In fact, over the previous 12 rounds of every player in next week’s field, Scott is just one of two men who rank inside the top-25 in every significant strokes gained category. Rory McIlroy is the other.

Even putting, you ask? Yes, even putting, which has been a nemesis for the Australian throughout his career.

The improvement in Scott’s putting has been drastic, and one of the primary reasons for this improvement is due to the option players now have of leaving the flagstick in the hole while on the putting surface this year. Scott has previously stated how the new regulation has changed the entire dynamic and art of putting and speaking in the same interview with the Augusta Chronicle; the 2013 Masters Champion had this to say on the current strength of his putting.

“I feel like on shorter putts when the pin is in I have a nice reference point of the exact middle of the hole and something to aim against. I’m not trying to hit putts harder and smash it into the pin, and it’s just more of a reference of aim, but I have putted better, and I think if I were to hit one too hard, I doubt I would hit one so hard that it bounces out from short range.”

So just how much improvement has Scott made on the greens since the USGA’s rule 13.2a(2) change? Well, the Australian has gained strokes over the field on the greens in every event he has played in so far this year. It’s a run of six successive positive weeks with the flat-stick for Scott, a feat he has never before achieved in his career.

The 38-year-old stands T17 for strokes gained: putting this season. To put that improvement into perspective, Scott has failed to finish a year inside the top-100 in this area since 2014, and last year, the 13-time winner on the PGA Tour finished T165 for strokes gained putting.

Scott’s current confidence with the flat-stick in hand has even led him to possess three different options on the greens, all of which he appears hugely comfortable with, as he explained just a couple of weeks ago

“What I feel like is I have three incredibly good ways to putt with three incredibly good putters. I can either kind of float the broomstick or I can arm lock or I can do some kind of claw short putter with a very stable putter head.”

The Australian won the 2013 Masters while anchoring the putter, a component of the game which at the time had not yet been outlawed, and it appears as if the new flagstick regulation has benefited Scott more so than any other player in next week’s field.

The man who is often described as having one of the best swings in golf has unsurprisingly finished inside the top-20 for strokes gained tee to green in eight of the last nine years on the PGA Tour. What’s more, Scott has recently proved to himself that he still has it in him to compete for the biggest prizes in the game, going toe to toe with Brooks Koepka on Sunday at the 2018 PGA Championship.

There are arguably, just a dozen players who will honestly believe they can slip on the green jacket on Sunday, April 14, with experience, skill level and knowledge of the course having more of an impact at Augusta National than any other course players will compete at all year.

Crucially, Scott has done it all before, and with a new regulation stirring life into a man who looked destined to end his major career tally on one, Adam Scott is once again within that select group of players who know that they possess the ability to triumph on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National.

 

 

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Scott Grafton

    Apr 3, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    old quotes about the putters. This article is just compiled quotes over time, no real journalism. He has been using the directed force short putter for many weeks now…

  2. J

    Apr 3, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Augusta National should incorporate a local rule that the pin has to be pulled for putts on the green.
    Just looks silly to see the pin in at the Masters

    • Matt

      Apr 3, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      Whatever you do DO NOT watch any video or look at any pictures of Jack’s first 3 wins or any of Arnie’s wins at the Masters, as you might see some silliness and we wouldn’t want that.

    • J

      Apr 3, 2019 at 7:46 pm

      I was just trying to wind Adam up as he’s just a gentle flower

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive WITB Edition: Adam Scott

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In this WITB edition of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with JJ VanWezenbeeck and Aaron Dill of Titleist Golf on the ins and outs of Genesis Invitational Champion Adam Scott’s setup.

Adam Scott WITB details below

Driver: Titleist TS4 (10.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting, 2-gram weight)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 X

  • Scott put the Kuro Kage in play this week. Per Titleist’s J.J. VanWezenbeeck, “Adam Scott switched to the TS4 driver at the ZoZo Championship due to head size, shape, and improved launch to spin ratios. This week, after discussions with Adam, he went to a shaft he had previously played for increased stability. He felt the shaft went a little far and he lost head feel. We went on course with lead tape to get the feels to match up then weighted the head to preferred swing weight after testing.”

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5 degrees, A1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax P95 X

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (3-iron), Titleist 680 (4-9 irons)
Shafts: KBS Tour 130 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48.08F, 52.08F, 56.10S), Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60.06K)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold AMT Tour Issue X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Xperimental Prototype Rev X11 (long)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Scott marks his ball with dots in the pattern of the Southern Cross, which is featured on the Australian flag.

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: An examination of proper “release”

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One of my favorite ‘contributions’ to this game I love is helping golfers t an “ah-ha” moment, wherein they gain an understanding of the idiosyncrasies of the golf swing that helps them make progress in their ball striking. In so many cases with recreational golfers, keys to improvement can be much more conceptual than physical. In other words, helping a golfer discover what really should be happening in various parts of the golf swing leads them to make their own swing alterations to adopt this new understanding.

I firmly believe that teaching through understanding is much more productive than trying to teach “a new move” through the physical approach. From my observation of recreational golfers, particularly those with “homemade” swings (which all have the potential to produce better and more consistent results in my opinion), one of the most misunderstood intricacies of the golf swing is how the club should be “released” through the impact zone.

Almost universally, golfers seem to think that the club releases through impact by or with an unhinging of the wrists, so that the left arm and shaft form a straight line.

If you genuinely want to improve your ball striking, your distance, your consistency and your scores, I suggest you pursue a genuine and technical understanding of this critical segment of the golf swing. Because most of you are
stuck in front of your TV right now–watching more golf than you are playing–you can make this time count. Every chance you get, watch the slow-motion videos of the golf swing from behind the golfer, looking down the line. A
straight-on view of the golf swing does not reveal this angle, but that is mostly what we are given in swing analysis by television and magazines, unfortunately.

[I’ll offer too, that you can learn a lot more from watching the LPGA players than the guys, as these very talented ladies are much closer to our own strength profiles. In my opinion, most of them are much more fundamentally
sound in their mechanics as they simply have to get the most efficiency out of the swing.]

What you will see, particularly with the wedge and short iron shots is that the hands and arms follow a path through impact that very nearly “covers” their position at address, where a distinct angle is formed by the left arm and shaft of the club…again, looking from behind the golfer down the target line.

As you study these videos and still photos, you’ll see that in the longer, more powerful swings–driver, metals, hybrids–the hands drift a little higher and away from the body more than they do with the middle and short irons, but the angle is still there. As you watch these guys hit the delicate short shots around the greens, the hands almost identically cover their address position.

That’s because a proper “release” of the club is not as much an unhinging of the wrists, but rather a rotation of the hands and arms through impact, in concert with and driven by the rotation of the body core itself. Close examination shows that the hands remain almost directly in front of the sternum through the entire impact zone, and the forearms and hands rotate – not unhinge – so that the club is squared at the ball for consistent impact.

Now, all this diagnosis would not be worth a dime to you if I didn’t show you how to experience this for yourself. Like most new physical activities, you are always best served by trying to LEARN IT IN SLOW MOTION! Simply pick up your 8- or 9-iron and find a place in your house or garage where you won’t take out a table lamp, and make very S-L-O-W swings, while concentrating on making this rotational release motion.

Your goal is to set up at address with the left arm hanging naturally from your shoulder, not pushed out toward the ball. Take the club back with a rotation of the body core, and then back through the impact zone, concentrating on making the left arm and hands exactly “cover” their address position. The angle of the wrists is maintained, and the club rotates through the ball, as your body rotates through impact.

Once you get the feel of it in slow motion, make slightly faster swings, concentrating on the path of the arms and that rotational release. When you actually hit balls with this newly-learned release–DO IT AT 35-50% POWER–you’ll be amazed at the boring trajectories and effortless distance you will get!

Let’s get some feedback on this, guys. How did you do?

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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Tiger at Riviera and his future in golf

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Tiger looked pretty bad at the Genesis this weekend and is not playing next week, what does his future look like in golf? Speculation on his future and if he will play some champions events or what. Also discussed: A little on distance and what not to do at a club demo day!

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