2004 Players Championship winner Adam Scott speaks with the media prior to making his 19th consecutive start at the event about how his game has changed as he ages.
PGA Tour: Adam Scott previews 19th start at the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass
SHARON SHIN: We would like to welcome Adam Scott, the 2004 PLAYERS champion. You’re making your 19th consecutive start at this event. How does it feel to be back?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I love coming here. It’s like I talk about every year, it’s where my career really got going, I guess all those years ago and it’s been fun coming back ever since. I feel like I’ve really been welcomed here in this community and supported really well on the golf course. I played some good rounds over the years here and enjoyed some good results, however, not winning a second one, this year again that’s my goal going out there and I feel like my game is ready for that challenge this week.
SHARON SHIN: And already a win under your belt this season with a victory at the Genesis Invitational. How is your game feeling entering this week?
ADAM SCOTT: It’s good, even though that I missed the cut last week, I had a bit of a bad front nine at Arnold Palmer, which is disappointing. However, the silver lining may be that I didn’t have to deal with that golf course over the weekend, which looked quite brutal and my mind is in a good place because of that. But I feel very comfortable with where my game’s at. I think the lesson learned out of last week was I need to just make sure I’m prepared teeing off tomorrow and not have that kind of slow start to take away from the level where my game is and put myself back in with a chance to win a big tournament this week.
SHARON SHIN: We’ll open it up for questions.
Q. We have got a question from a fan in China. How do you adjust yourself to the pressure in competition and take your championship experience back in 2014 as an example?
ADAM SCOTT: I think everything comes from preparation and if you prepare properly then eventually with some experience you understand how you respond to pressure situations, and whether it’s teeing off on Thursday of a tournament or coming down the stretch to win a tournament. But I find myself, and I’ve also heard from a lot of other athletes that they get all their confidence out of their of their preparation; all the work needs to be done before you’re meant to perform.
Q. Do you change the game plan much going into this tournament as opposed to another tournament, especially because of the Pete Dye golf course?
ADAM SCOTT: It’s very much the condition of the course dependent. Which we have seen over the years, if it plays soft this course can be quite good around here. But if it firms up it gets a little treacherous and can play really like the other Florida tournaments can. So at the moment it’s a little soft, and although it firmed up a little bit today, it looks like you’re going to have to show a little bit of patience out there this week. The greens just got a little firmer today and the rough is significant enough to not make it easy to hit greens out of the rough and balls can roll through and the speeds of the greens make chipping difficult. So ball striking this week will certainly help. It’s playing a little longer than we have seen in May, as well, with the softness of the fairways. So it really turned into a wedge golf course. I felt like as I got used to it in May, and it was because of this tournament that I ended up putting four wedges in my golf bag for the first time, I don’t know, three or four years ago. But I think there’s a bit less of that this year, even with drivers off tees, the ball is, for me, not getting down to that kind of wedge area and I’ve hit a lot more 9-, 8-, 7-, 6-, 5-irons into greens than I can remember for the last 10 years.
Q. There’s a lot of trees on this golf course, of all the places where you face a shot with a tree or trees, which one grabs your attention the most?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think the second hole, the trees up the left of the second are pretty much right where you want to flight the ball, you want to hug that left side and the trees are in the way so you have to go around. There have been a few, the one on No. 6 is gone now, that used to overhang the tee box. I never really thought I could hit it into it but you never know. It was getting a bit lower the last few years.
Q. David Duval and Justin Leonard were talking about the strategy of Pete Dye’s design around this course and Justin was talking about the 16th hole as an example where you need to draw off the tee and then hit a fade for your second shot. Do you think the move back from May to March enhances the need to play it strategically versus just blast over the trouble?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think it will work out that way because the ball just doesn’t seem to be running like it was in May. Drives are really not running at all. Therefore, some of the holes like 14 off the tee and 16 off the tee, the ball doesn’t run down near any of the trouble, but it’s leaving us much longer second shots, which is more difficult. I think it is a course of strategy because everyone kind of plays to similar spots. I don’t think you can overpower the course, however — and I don’t think you can play out of the rough all week and do well. But now I don’t think you can really overpower this golf course. It would be difficult to drive it in those spots now.
So I think it is a good strategic golf course, I really do. I think that’s why we don’t see repeat winners and it’s really open to whoever can play well. I don’t think it favors long hitters, I don’t think it favors just a short game, I think it tests all areas of the game.
Q. Post your Genesis win, do you still keep the same clubs in the bag? Have you changed anything since that win at Riviera?
ADAM SCOTT: I haven’t, no.
Q. And if not, is there a sentimental reason for that or is it sort of like the fact that you’ve got the winning clubs in the bag or is it just you’re not a sort of club changer?
ADAM SCOTT: I generally am not a club changer. I try and stick with what’s working as long as I can. There’s so many changes all the time; if you can not change something it’s quite good to not have to factor in anything else.
Q. It seems like there’s an interesting competition going on on TOUR at the moment between the younger guys winning, you guys winning, the more experienced guys, and would you say it’s one of the most interesting times during your career to compete on the PGA TOUR at the moment?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I guess so. I mean for me anyway it’s an interesting time for me to compete. I feel like I have a great opportunity at the moment to achieve some of the things that I have set out to do. Coming off the back of not necessarily last year but the year before not playing as well as I hoped when these opportunities present themselves you want to take advantage of them. So I’m excited for that. I think I’m not really trying to prove that I can beat any of the young guys, but I think some of the old guys still have it out here (Laughing.)
Q. How would you say your game’s evolved at 39 compared to in your 20s? Do you play — what was your ratio to power to precision then and has that ratio changed?
ADAM SCOTT: I think — sorry, I just don’t know exactly how to answer. I think I’m a better player now. I think everyone’s become better. I think the power is easier to achieve now. I think the precision is more difficult to achieve now. I don’t know that I can say I was more precise back then, but in the overall balance maybe I was. But I was hitting it probably a little shorter too. Which would make sense that I’m more accurate hitting it shorter.
Q. Has there been any changes since you are older in terms of physical capabilities or have you adjusted in that regard or are you just as capable?
ADAM SCOTT: I think I’m just as capable physically, I mean, I’ve been fairly fortunate, I haven’t really had injury setbacks or anything bothering me from playing golf and I’ve always been conscious of keeping my body in a good spot and I’ve worked with good people on that. So I feel physically I’m very capable of playing top-level golf right now.
Q. Your swing has long been a model for juniors and anyone, really. I’m wondering, with the plethora of information available now in terms of TrackMan and all these biomechanics and plate things, how much do you use that stuff or are you more of a, do you prefer to just kind of go on feel, do you watch your swing on video, just curious about your process.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I use TrackMan infrequently. I don’t use it much at all. I don’t know the last time I used it. And I got in the habit of watching my swing on video, which isn’t good because even though it the swing can be good you can nitpick every swing, I mean the perfect swing pretty much doesn’t exist. And even when I’m swinging good I could see something and try and then go and work on it. So basically I haven’t seen my swing this year at all and so a lot of it is based off feel. I trust my coach that he’s telling me the swing is looking in a good spot and he then, I just find my own feels to play golf and that keeps the freedom and kind of the natural talent I have for playing as open as possible to come out on the course and that’s kind of my process. There are times to reference off TrackMan and all the other information, but at this point I don’t think there’s many secrets I’m going to find from it. I know my game fairly well and I’m fairly honest with myself about how the ball flight is.
Q. You mentioned about your goals for this year. Can you share a little bit more about that and what of the next three majors would you most want to add to your resume?
ADAM SCOTT: Winning tournaments is always my goal and of course we put a huge focus on the majors. And then I think we all have other specific tournaments we really like. For example, this one, it’s a big event and this is my main focus right now. Of course I would love to win any of the other majors later this year. My goal is to keep my game in a spot where that’s realistic. But I’ve got off to a good start by winning the Genesis a few weeks back and I would like to add to that. Now I’m in this position where I’ve won again I would like to get myself back quickly in that position and see if I can add to that tally this year.
SHARON SHIN: Adam, do you have time for a couple more?
ADAM SCOTT: No, I’m sorry, my table is ready at Chili’s.
March 11, 2020
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
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