Day four and we look at yet another player who’s name will no doubt be on the lips of many heading into Masters week.
Adam Scott is the feature player today, and he is the first major winner on the list so far.
An owner of a Green Jacket already, Scott will certainly be looking to make a run at a second, as he looks to get back in the winners’ circle for the first time in two years.
One of the more experienced players in the field at this year’s Masters, Scott will be making his 17th appearance in this event.
In his 16 starts so far he boasts a win, four more top-10’s and a further two top-20’s. All in all he is clearly a solid prospect each and every time he tees it up here and he will hope that continues this time around.
Back in 2013 he achieved what his mentor, Greg Norman couldn’t, despite finishing runner-up on three occasions and in his own words following that win said “There was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers and that’s Greg Norman”. He also went on to say “He’s been incredible to me and part of this definitely belongs to him.” before suggesting how he was going to celebrate with a man that clearly inspired him to victory, as he put it. “A phone conversation’s not going to do it, we’re very close. I would love to share a beer with him and talk through it all.”
Clearly a huge fan of this event, even more so since 2013, Scott will relish every time he drives down Magnolia Lane, a trip that no doubt fills him with pride every time, and this year will be no different.
Why he can win the 2018 Masters
The obvious concern ahead of this year’s renewal is the state of Scott’s putting. A problem area of his game, Scott has struggled for consistency in particular since the anchoring ban came into effect in January 2016.
Scott did win twice that year, first a month after the ban can into effect – at the Honda Classic and then a week later at the WGC Cadillac, both with a regulation-length putter.
It has been far from plain-sailing since but as ever, Scott’s ball-striking has been wonderful and should he find some form on the greens, his fortunes can change in a big way.
We have just this past weekend witnessed what happens when a player, in this case Rory McIlroy finds form with the putter, after a tough period and Scott will surely take heart from that.
The Australian currently ranks 191st in Strokes Gained: Putting, but 5th in SG: Tee-to-Green and 15th in SG: Approach-the-Green so it is clear there is just one obstacle for him.
Putting is so succeptible to change week-to-week whereas, with minor changes capable of being the difference, whereas solid ball-striking is arguably harder to come by out of the blue, so there is still hope that he can turn this season into a good one.
Clearly any positive changes on the greens have been harder to come by for Adam, who continues to struggle with the short stick but he doesn’t need to become the World’s best putter overnight, even if he wants to, he just needs to stop being one of the worst. Maybe he should give Brad Faxon a call?
It feels like this whole piece is about Scott’s putting but that really is the difference between him finishing middle of the pack and him contending on Sundays.
Looking at how Scott has been playing on Tour this year, despite trouble on the greens it appears he is still finishing some weeks in a positive manner.
In five starts in 2018, Scott has missed one cut, countered by top-16 finishes at both the Valspar Championship and Honda Classic. Finishes of T53 at the Genesis and T41 at Bay Hill were of course not highlights but this past weekend in particular could and should have been better.
Scott found water and other hazards all week at Bay Hill, meaning more than just the putter was to blame for a bad week but he will look to focus on the positives of the week, and put those bad moments behind him.
Last year, Scott finished T9 at Augusta, his best effort since his win four years prior. An opening round 75 and closing round 73 undone some stellar work Friday and Saturday where he shot back-to-back rounds of 69 to give himself a chance at win number two here.
It will take some doing to win another Green Jacket, especially with the struggles he does have going on but you know that he is going to give himself plenty of birdie chances, that clearly just need converting.
There aren’t many better iron players in the world, if any than Scott and he is plenty useful off the tee as well, which is why he is just one shy of 30 Career Wins.
It has been two years since Scott enjoyed that winning feeling on a Sunday, but after dealing with issues on the course as well as becoming a father for the second time in 2017, he looks to be working his way towards his typically consistent form.
Good things come to those that wait, Sergio Garcia’s win here twelve months ago a fine example, as well as McIlroy’s win Sunday evening and Scott may just find the secret to overcoming his putting woes in time to make another run at this prestigious title.