Not a day has gone by since last April that Adam Scott hasn’t looked in his closet at the green jacket and thought about the Masters Tournament. But the urgency to repeat escalates now.
Scott returns next week from a six-week break to begin his competitive run-up to Augusta, and there is much still to get done.
“That’s really when my preparation and lead up to Augusta starts to get myself in shape to come and defend,” Scott said on his Tuesday teleconference with Augusta National Golf Club.
This last week of break will be spent not only honing his swing on his range in the Bahamas but trying to finalize his menu for the Champions Dinner.
“I’d like to serve something that everyone will really enjoy, and nothing too crazy so that they won’t,” he said. “But probably no surprise to anyone, there’s definitely going to be an Australian theme toward every part of the dinner. Whether that means they are eating kangaroo, I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see.”
Whatever he serves, Scott hopes it sets a tone for other Australians to join him now that he’s broken through at Augusta where his hero Greg Norman and others had met with nothing but heartbreak and frustration.
“So hopefully the shackles are off and we’re going to have a host of Aussies up there in the Champions Locker Room and serving dinners in the future,” he said.
The coming seven weeks before the 2014 Masters starts will include another very important element for Scott – getting over the emotions of returning to the scene of his greatest career triumph. While he traditionally makes a spring scouting trip to Augusta during the Florida swing, this year will be an entirely different experience that he’d like to share with his father, if possible.
“It’s going to be hard,” Scott said. “I’ll probably need two days. I need a day to get my head right and get over the sentimental stuff, and then a day of work. But it’s something that I’m looking forward to so much. It’s an exciting time of year as a golfer, and for me this year, heading towards April is a real buzz and going to be something I’m really looking forward to.”
When he makes that trip, Scott is curious to see how the 17th hole looks without the famous Eisenhower Tree, which was removed over the weekend after suffering extensive ice damage. Scott won’t necessarily miss seeing it.
“Whether they replace it or not, it was a pretty tight hole,” he said. “So from a golfing standpoint, I kind of think seeing a little bit more of the fairway will be a nice thing.”
Ranked No. 2 in the world and coming off of a four-win season that helped him earn Player of the Year status from the Golf Writer’s Association of America, Scott obviously built on his major breakthrough. But he still expects bigger things and more majors as he enters the prime of his career at age 33. His more limited schedule remains a focus on trying to peak at the right moments.
“I’m also keeping the big picture in mind and my priorities are the Masters and the other three majors later this year, and I think the break was necessary, even though I was playing well,” he said of the end of 2013. “Although we didn’t get another major last year, to win some other tournaments and have a good run back in Australia was really important to kind of take your confidence in anything that the Masters gave you and become a better player.”
Despite his preference for privacy, Scott has handled the added duties that come with being a Masters champion beautifully. His predecessor, Bubba Watson, struggled with some of that burden and went nearly two years before winning again on Sunday at Riviera.
“It’s been an incredible experience being the Masters champion for the last 11, 12 months, and it’s something I’ll be trying to do again, for sure,” he said. “To have that green jacket hanging in the closet is worth any bit of extra stuff you might have to deal with in your professional world.”
While the curtain is drawing closed on his year in the Masters spotlight, Scott said that he’d largely pulled it shut long before his green jacket tour made its homecoming to Australia in the fall. He has enjoyed it to the fullest extent without dwelling in the past.
“I think the interesting thing is, for me, as a competitor and someone who likes to win and desires to win and works hard to try and win tournaments, the feeling and sense of accomplishment doesn’t last very long,” he said. “You know, it basically goes through that night and you wake up the next day, and that event’s over, and everyone’s moving on.
“And you can kind of bask in the glory yourself for a little bit but as soon as you’re back out to play again, everyone’s moved on and there’s a new trophy to play for. That’s not undermining the sense of achievement of winning the Masters and the history of the event or any other major championship or any other tournament. But it’s just kind of how it works, because 150 other guys didn’t win and they are moving on to try and win the next week.
“You can’t rest on your laurels and I think that’s the interesting thing about it was that it probably lasted longer than any other tournament, but it doesn’t last as long as you think considering it’s something that you’ve kind of worked your whole life towards.”