A reconsideration of his stance towards playing at the Olympics is among several changes for Australian golf star Adam Scott as he prepares to kick off another challenging season on the US PGA Tour.
The popular former world No.1 had previously been vehemently against golf’s return to the Olympics when it was reintroduced in 2016. His focus has always been on golf’s four majors, of which he has one win – the 2013 Masters at Augusta National.
Scott remains indifferent about participating but is more enthusiastic about representing Australia given that this year’s Olympics will be held in Japan, a country that adores golf, in July.
Scott also turned 40 last year, meaning the postponed Games could be the 14-time US PGA Tour winner’s last chance to bag an Olympic medal.
At world No.21, the top-ranked Australian, Scott would join No.27 Cameron Smith as the nation’s men’s golf team if it was decided now.
“I would consider playing; it’s still not my priority for the year, that’s for sure,” Scott said from the Tournament of Champions on Maui, Hawaii which begins Friday AEDT. “But I wouldn’t rule it out because you can never really say never.
“It will certainly be something I‘ll look at. Who knows where we are in the summertime.”
Scott is contesting this week’s lucrative Tournament of Champions at the oceanside Plantation course at Kapalua in the beautiful surrounds of west Maui.
It is the first time Scott has played the event since a tie for sixth in 2014. His usual Australian golf summer schedule and end-of-year break prevented him from starting his US season at Kapalua, usually the first tournament of the year.
An avid surfer and close friend of that sport’s icon Kelly Slater, Scott admits he will take advantage of Maui’s surf this week.
“I have (surfed here) in the past, I’ve surfed a lot here and there are some waves coming this afternoon, so I might go for a quick paddle before the day’s up,” he said. “Good preparation, I think.”
But after the no-cut event in Maui, which will award the winner $US1.3 million, the US PGA Tour’s travelling circus will get a lot more difficult for Scott.
He and his wife and two children are now based in Switzerland. His coach, Brad Malone, lives in England. They all travel to the US for weeks at a time to compete.
“Yeah, getting time to see my coach outside of a tour event, and training and treatment and (will be hard),” he said. “If you‘re not based in the same place at the moment, it’s very difficult to actually get together.
“The UK has just locked down again. My coach lives there.”
But Scott is enjoying a second wind of his stellar career, having broken droughts of several years when he won the Australian PGA Championship in December 2019 and the Tiger Woods-hosted Genesis Invitational on the US PGA Tour in February last year.
But with the majors, Scott has a bad taste in his mouth from last year’s results. His best finish at the three rescheduled championships was a tie for 22nd.
“Five? I made the cut,” Scott joked when asked to mark his majors performance out of 10 last year. “That’s about it. The preparation just wasn’t ideal, for any of them.”
His mantra for 2021 is to suck it up, deal with the hurdles and bag that elusive second career major. The four biggest events are set to return to their normal dates in April (Masters), May (US PGA Championship), June (US Open) and July (British Open).
“I have to figure out a way to get it done; even under these difficult circumstances,” Scott said. “I want to come out and contend and not just make up numbers. Otherwise, I would rather not play.”