Eubanks: Can Scott bounce back?
No one comes to Kiawah with more weight on his shoulders than Adam Scott. But, says Steve Eubanks, Scott is showing he has the mettle to overcome his disappointment at Lytham.
By Steve Eubanks, PGA.com
Adam Scott needs to watch a "Rocky" movie on the plane to Kiawah Island.
He doesn’t have watch the whole thing: just one scene from the last one, the one where Stallone is close to 60 and heads back in the ring for an exhibition bout with the reigning heavyweight champ. That one scene -- about a minute -- encapsulates what Scott needs to remember heading into the PGA Championship.
“It ain’t about how hard you hit,” Rocky said. “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”
Scott has certainly been hit hard. The agonizing slow-motion collapse at Royal Lytham & St. Annes can’t be too far from his memory. But, by every indication, he has absorbed that blow and kept on moving.
He went straight from England to his home in Switzerland for a couple of days, where he decompressed and pondered his future in the majestic shadows of the Alps. Then it was off the Kiawah for a couple of practice rounds before jetting up to Akron to defend his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title.
“To be honest, I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb about it,” Scott said, recounting the days following the loss. “I certainly didn't beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner.”
Instead, he did what every winner does after a loss. He picked himself up and tried to learn from what happened.
“There wasn't that much healing for me,” Scott said. “I mean, my game is in really great shape, and I just took a few days to rest up. I certainly analyzed the last few holes a little bit and took out of it what I wanted and then just thought about how great I played. I felt like it was my week, and I played like a champion, but I played four poor holes at the end. You can't win and do that. Now, it's motivation for me. I think I'm on the right track: keep doing what I'm doing and I can give myself more chances like that.”
It seems unnatural that a man could get over such a monumental disappointment so quickly, but Scott was calm and genuine with his responses. He has swallowed the bad, and tried to focus on the good.
“The disappointment of Lytham shouldn't hold me back from taking advantage of the way I'm playing at the moment,” he said.
Rory McIlroy came back after a major collapse and won in record-setting fashion in his very next major. Ed Snead disappeared and never contended again.
Phil Mickelson seemed snakebit after coming so close time after time. He now has four major titles and a bust in the Hall of Fame. Doug Sanders has thought about that putt on the final green at St. Andrews that cost him the Open Championship at least once a day for the last 42 years.
The list goes on. Greg Norman’s disappointment at the 1996 Masters was the beginning of the end for greatest player of his generation. And the man who beat Norman that day, Nick Faldo, had to overcome a reputation as a choker early in his career before winning six majors.
Right now, Scott appears ready to become a Mickelson or a McIlroy, not a Sanders or Snead.
“I felt completely in control and calm (at Lytham)” he said. “But with that your mind can still go at a million miles an hour and (you) make quick decisions. So I think that was the learning experience for me: Although physically super calm, maybe (I was) making too quick decisions on a couple things. But hopefully it was something to learn from, and I'll be aware of that the next time.”
Scott has obviously taken the game’s hardest blow, gotten up, dusted himself off, and said, “Is that all you got?”
He has been hit, and he’s still moving forward.
Cue the trumpets. Rocky Balboa just raised his fists in victory.