2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: ADAM SCOTT
KELLY ELBIN: At 7 under par, 2013 Masters Champion, Adam Scott, is currently tied for the lead in the second round of the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. Adam in with 68 today.
Adam, a lot of birdies, a few bogeys, comments on the round, please.
ADAM SCOTT: Look, I'm pleased with the round. It was difficult this morning. The course was playing really long with the heavy atmosphere and the rain, so I got off to a good start, which was important after yesterday's 65, and kept myself moving in the right direction. But when it eased up, it became really scorable out there, and I didn't quite take advantage of that, as I missed a few putts. But hopefully saved them for the weekend.
KELLY ELBIN: If you would, briefly go through the birdies and bogeys starting with your first hole, No. 10.
ADAM SCOTT: 10th hole I hit a driver and a wedge just on the fringe and I chipped it in with a 9 iron.
Then the 13th hole, I hit a 3 iron, a 5 iron, an 8 iron and made a 20 footer down the hill.
16, I hit a driver and a pitching wedge to about five feet.
17, I hit a driver, 2 iron and 3 putted from the front fringe.
KELLY ELBIN: How about on the front nine with the birdie on 2.
ADAM SCOTT: Birdie on 2 was a 2 iron, 8 iron, and probably a 60 footer.
Bogey on 3 was a 4 iron to the right of the green and I didn't get it up and down.
The 6th hole, I hit a 7 iron in there to about 12 feet.
7, I hit a 2 iron, 5 iron left of the green and didn't get it up and down. Missed a 5 footer.
Q. Can you describe the second shot on 8, and also, mentally, is this the top of your game, do you feel as strong mentally as you ever have?
ADAM SCOTT: The second shot on 8 was a fairly straightforward punch shot. I had a good lie obviously; I hit it far enough in the trees that the people had trampled the grass down, and that was fortunate. It was kind of one of those ones where it was going to get up in front of the green, and must have gotten the right first bounce to finish pretty close.
It was a good shot, because I had just bogeyed the previous hole and leaked a drive and didn't want to really drop two in a row. So it was a good shot to really recover and set up a birdie chance; unfortunately missed it.
And far as how I feel, yeah, I'm very confident with where my game's at. I feel like I've done a good job of working myself into form for the right weeks. But I've just got to make the most out of that now this weekend.
Q. Did you seek out any advice from anyone in particular about how to play the golf course before you got here, or did you just decide on your strategy all by yourself?
ADAM SCOTT: Unlike other Majors, I didn't come up here earlier and play any practice rounds. I kind of went off my bad memory of ten years ago.
But after playing it Monday and Tuesday, figured out a pretty good strategy, and I think it's such a good course; it's all very straightforward. You know, to play it smart is easy to see how to do that out here.
Q. Two questions. One is Phil, after he won the British, talked about even in the last couple of weeks, he just feels differently about himself. He feels like the perception of himself as a player is different. Wonder if you've felt differently about yourself since you've won the Masters, and whether it's outside perception or coming from inside yourself.
ADAM SCOTT: I think a little bit, and probably both, from inside and outside. But I can certainly understand what Phil is talking about, because I would feel if I won The Open, I would feel differently about ... it's a different challenge. It's just so completely different, that kind of golf. I think it's almost, you're the complete golfer if you can win at all these different venues like he has. And then to add the Open on there, you are the complete golfer, and I'm sure that's what he's feeling, and I can completely understand that. I don't think I feel like that at all just for winning the Masters, but I certainly feel like you prove something to yourself to win a major, and maybe some other people, as well, on the outside.
Q. When talented players like yourself have waited a bit to finally break through and win a major, sometimes that kind of breaks the door open a little bit and there's maybe a liberating process. Do you feel a little liberated now as a one time Major Champion to go on and win more?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think the platform has never been better for me to go on and win multiple Majors. I guess you've got to take the confidence and form of winning a major and run with it. I've sat in front of you guys and told you that these are going to be my best years, and generally they are for any golfer. But I'm doing everything I can to make sure that they are, and you know, I can't take my foot off the gas just because I achieved something great at Augusta.
Q. What were the biggest differences from the course today maybe versus yesterday?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, the front nine this morning, which was the back nine, was just playing so long. I mean, the atmosphere was so heavy; the low cloud and the rain, 17 was probably not reachable for a lot of guys in two. I was hitting a 2 iron from 230 to the front. It was 254 to the pin.
18 was my best driver and a 4 iron, and in practice rounds we were hitting 3 wood and 7 iron. I mean, it changes drastically. And even when the rain stopped and kind of the clouds lifted a bit, the ball was going back to kind of a more normal distance. So you had to make some adjustments out there today.
But the biggest difference was just the length of the course. Obviously, it's getting a little softer, the greens, so it's receiving shots. If you're in the fairway, you can attack.
Q. What do you think it says about you that you can have the lead at the British Open a few weeks ago, give up the lead, lose that, but then come back here and just get straight back on the bike?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I don't know. I've done it a couple times (laughing). It seems to be a theme.
But like I think all it says is that I'm hungry at the moment. I was hungry before the Masters and I might even have a bigger appetite after it, and it might be greedy, but I feel like this is my time to get everything I want out of my career, and I'm going to keep pushing until I do. My game is in great shape. I've got to take advantage of it. Otherwise, it's all a waste.
Q. Do you feel at all disadvantaged at the side of the draw you've been on, given guys will go out this afternoon and throw some darts, and you may not be leading by the end of the day?
ADAM SCOTT: It all evens out in the wash, the whole draw thing. You get good ones and bad ones, and if this was my bad draw, then I've done well in it to be in the mix. If I'm a few back going into tomorrow, then I'm still in great shape for the weekend. Somehow, they will get this course playing tough on the weekend.
Q. Do you feel you perhaps left a few out there? You talked about the putter not being as hot. You could have probably put half the field away if you made those shorter ones.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, just was a little off with the putts that you would really expect to make, the ten feet and in, I was probably at 50 percent today. I had some real chances. Especially on the front nine, I could have had a great front nine in that rain in those tough conditions, and then just missed a few coming in, as well, which would have been nice the last three holes to finish hot like that.
You know, like I said, maybe I'll make them all on the weekend.
Q. Your pairing with Justin, it was pretty impressive watching him shoot 29 like that; is that a pairing that you like for the weekend? I know you guys are friendly and he did mention that you encouraged him a little bit and had some nice words that kind of pushed him to win the U.S. Open.
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, it's a great pairing for me. You know, the group the last two days has been fantastic. It's enjoyable to go out there and know that there's going to be a great atmosphere, obviously so much support for Phil, and especially coming off his win at The Open. It's a fun environment to play in.
And then Justin and I are very comfortable playing with each other. We know each other's games very well, and if you can feed off each other in a good way, then that's good. So absolutely, I would be very happy with that pairing over the weekend at some point.
Q. Last night you said there are a lot of reasons to explain why you're a regular contender in Majors; what are the main ones?
ADAM SCOTT: I said there are a lot of reasons?
Q. The list was long, I think is what you said.
ADAM SCOTT: Oh, well that was referring to what I had changed to become a contender, not why. I changed a lot of stuff in the way I prepare to play any tournament on the TOUR and try and peak for four weeks a year. There's no real secrets. All the greatest players in history have done it, and I've tried to borrow a leaf out of their book. Tiger is a great example for anyone trying to peak. You look at his schedule, look at the way he does it; he's obviously not going home and sitting on the couch the whole time. He's working hard on his game to come out and perform his best every time he plays, and that's what I'm trying to do with a special emphasis on preparing for the Majors and the World Golf Championships and THE PLAYERS Championship and whatever other tournament you consider important.
I think you just leave no stone unturned. You take out factors, you commit fully, and it can be done, and that's what I feel like I've done.
Q. In changing that preparation for the big stuff, what was the main change in there, the main adjustment?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think probably just dropping a lot of tournaments was the biggest change. Playing a much lighter schedule, which puts a little bit of pressure on you, because you don't have as many events to win your FedExCup points; or, have a chance to win as many tournaments. But, at some point, you've got to step out of a comfort zone and back yourself and not be afraid of doing that, and I had to make a change. I mean, it was frustrating for me for a long time being a pretty good player and not performing at big events. It took me a long time to figure out, I've got to do something different.
I've got great support from everyone in my camp; that we all believe I'm doing the right thing, and they believe it, and we all push each other along.
Q. A couple weeks ago, Jack Nicklaus said that even though you would always prefer to be leading in the final round of a major, that trailing fit his personality better; it forced him to be aggressive; that he never felt comfortable protecting a lead in a major. You've been in that circumstance a number of times now. What fits your personality? Where is your comfort level in that circumstance?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, it's really tough. Look, it's easy to see recently that protecting a lead in a major is difficult. Not many people have done it successfully. And starting a couple back is, you know, a nice place to be, because the pressure is off and you can get out there and see how you're going.
But I've always enjoyed playing with the lead, and my record is fairly good when I've been leading. Obviously I didn't win at The Open, but other than that, I've got a fairly good record with a lead, and I always think it's good to be in front.
You just have to be tough, tough on yourself, and grind it out no matter how it's going. But certainly guys who start way back can free wheel it and they are always the danger man.
Q. I know you've talked about this before, but what makes Steve a good caddie, especially during a major?
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think he's got a process on how he likes to caddie and what he's found works out here. Obviously he's had a lot of success in major championships, and I'm sure he's learned some stuff along the way with Tiger, as well, that he's adapted. You know, he's extremely conservative, but, he relies on me doing the work and being able to play from conservative positions and execute shots well enough, and try and eliminate big numbers. It's as simple as that.
Q. Adam you were in upstate New York about three years ago playing the Turning Stone event in a tent a fraction of this size with about three of us in the room talking to you, and it seems to be about the time where you came out of wherever you had been and turned back into the golfer everybody expected you to be. Where were you then? Were you hungry during those years? What was going on in your golf game or your life where you weren't quite the same as what you have now ... the level you have now achieved in these last two years.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I think, you know, the game can be frustrating when it's not going the way you want. You know, the confidence was down and the competition out here is tough, and the courses are tough. When you're not confident and not believing in yourself, it's hard to shoot a good score, and it was like I was banging my head against a wall every time I went out there, because if I didn't swing well, then pressure was on my putting to putt well. And when I wasn't putting well, pressure was on me to swing well. You get in that cycle, and a few months, six months can slip away from you and the confidence is gone.
You know, it's been well documented that I think I got a real boost by being picked for The Presidents Cup team about that time, and that's why I was at Turning Stone, to try and get a little form happening before that. That really motivated me to keep working. You know, it was a time where you either keep working or you put the clubs away for a couple months and then come back fresh with a new attitude. I kept working, and when you are put on the world stage like a Presidents Cup where you can't hide in the back of the field or go home on the weekend, you've got to know that your game is going to be there. That was a good turning point for me, for sure.
Q. A couple different questions. You've talked about the next ten years being the best ten years of your career, you feel like, even before you had won at Augusta. Just curious why you felt that way.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, I guess in a long career like a golfer's, you have your ups and your downs, and you're going to have to have a peak somewhere. I can see the path my game is on, probably from 2010 onwards that, yeah, I can see improvement in all areas. I really got the bug of wanting to get better and better, and that's what I had not been seeing for a little while.
And just generally, I mean, most guys play their best golf; most of the best players have played their best golf in their 30s, and I think there's that extra level of experience at that point that works in their favor. Phil has just won a major at 43, so there's no reason why you can't go on playing well beyond that.
For all those reasons, I felt like I could be a better player once I started seeing some improvement.
Q. How good can your best be, especially compared to, say, six years ago?
ADAM SCOTT: Yeah, I think I've got room to improve still, absolutely. You know, we are always looking for the perfect ... to be perfect, and that may never be achievable. But you can die trying I guess.
You know, I continue to see improvement in my short game and in my putting, and even in my ball striking and the control. It's getting better, and sometimes when I feel my swing is great, I'll find a better place for it again, which is all fun. It makes going to the range fun. As long as I keep in that kind of mind set and attitude, then I think I've got better golf in me still.
Q. You fired two really solid rounds yesterday and today while the course was sort of ripe for the taking. I'm wondering, if it does dry out and the conditions do change over the next couple days, if you think that might work to your advantage and make it harder for guys behind you to catch up.
ADAM SCOTT: Well, you know, unfortunately now, I think it's not going to dry out at all to where it will get really tough. The greens are going to be fairly moist for the whole weekend, and even the fairways probably.
So it's probably going to be right there for the taking for the weekend. Although it's still going to penalize bad shots. But generally, if a course firms up, a premium on ball striking comes into play, and that's I'd like to think one of my strengths, and if I struck it well, then I would be in good shape over the weekend.
KELLY ELBIN: Masters Champion, Adam Scott, at 7 under par.
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