Adam Scott: U.S. Open Prep, Fitness and Nutrition

Adam Scott was in the interview room at the Memorial Tournament and as was the case for almost everybody who came through, most of the questions revolved around the U.S. Open at Merion in two weeks.

Marion is a classic course under 7,000 yards with short holes in the middle of the round and meaty ones otherwise. All of the speculation ever since the USGA gave Merion the 2013 slot was how would it hold up against the modern players, clubs and balls? Just how many drivers would you have to hit, if at all? 

Tiger said that he played one practice round in sideways rain and wind and wouldn’t be going back until the week of the tournament. Rory said that he was going up next week and might play a couple of rounds.

But Adam Scott played two rounds already and was headed back up for four or five more.

What were your thoughts about it?  How do you think an Open will play there?  I heard Rory was picking your brain today at breakfast, what did you tell him?

It’s a tough one.  I think it’s a course that a lot of knowledge will go a long way.  I think as a member it’s probably a really enjoyable course to play because you know the little bits and pieces of the course so well.

So somehow we need to learn that in about — for me I’ve played two rounds there.  I’m probably going to play another five.  So somehow in seven rounds, I need to have the local knowledge of a member who’s played there for 40 years.

It’s a great golf course.  It’s a bit fiddley is what I’ve come to so far, but that opinion could change next time I play just because you don’t see where the ball finishes off all your tee shots and there’s camber on the fairways and some movement on the fairways that make it fiddley.

So the rough is thick and lush, and hopefully they get some good weather and it dries out.  It’s going to be demanding.  There are opportunities out there, for sure.  But you have to hit good shots to give yourself those opportunities.  And then there are some very, very tough holes, too.

When I first read his answer that he was going to play four or five rounds more, I thought he was talking about the four tournament rounds and a playoff round if necessary. Wrong:

If I heard you correctly, you’re going to be there, you’re going to play seven rounds before you tee it up on Thursday?

I would think so.  I’ve played two and I’ll get Friday or Thursday the week before and play through the weekend.  That’s another four or five.  I could go 36 a day one day there.

I don’t ever think I’ve heard of a modern Tour pro doing such a thing. Whatever happened to coming into a tournament rested? That’s hard to do when you’re playing 36 a day. Someone else in the media was incredulous too.

And that’s not unusual for you in preparation?

No, no.  I like to go in and spend time there the week before or as much as I can, really.  I’ll do that at the [British] Open, as well.  And just try and play the course as much as I can so I feel like I know the golf course.

I did that at Olympic last year and I felt — I didn’t play the course with a yardage book, I just knew what to hit off every tee and all the different winds because you’ve hit enough shots.  And I felt Olympic was a course that you just need the front edge number to the green, and that’s where you’re going for, because the penalty of being over or above the hole was too severe.  So I just hit it to the front edge [because the greens were typical, U.S. Open, rock hard], it was really simple.

I think Merion is not quite as simple as that, but I’d like to feel like I could just — I don’t have to look at my yardage book to know if I have to hit a 3‑ or 4‑iron off the tee.  You just know, like you’re a member of the course.  That’s the goal.

You mentioned you’re going to have to learn as much about Merion as quickly as you can.  How do you go about learning a new golf course like that, one you haven’t seen before, charting yardages, greens.  What goes into seeing a golf course for the first time?

For me, my two days I’ve spent so far at Merion, I played on my own the first day and I played with a couple members who are friends of mine the next day.  And it’s just about trying to soak in as much as you can.  And I find that that’s easier to go out of the tournament week than during the tournament week, there’s so many distractions out on the course during a practice round that I don’t think you’re absorbing everything the course is giving to you [Interesting choice of words. As if the course is giving up its secrets].

So getting rounds in beforehand I think is key, especially for Merion.  I’m still not comfortable with some of my lines off the tees.  I couldn’t tell them off the top of my head, they’re not locked in yet.  I need to play a few more times before I can feel like Thursday you could tee off without a yardage book.  That’s the goal.  You’d like to tee off on Thursday without a yardage book and be able to play the course.  Then you’ve got a good level of understanding of the golf course.

And then, perhaps because he has such a striking physique, the questions turn to fitness and nutrition.

Given your meticulous approach to all aspects of your career, could you give some detail about what your fitness regimen is, your workout regimen, and your approach to nutrition?

It’s always been a fairly big component for me.  I enjoy working out and I enjoy going to the gym and I enjoy being active and doing other sports, as well.

I’ve been lucky, I’ve worked with two really great trainers throughout my career who have very similar philosophies, come from the same kind of background and understand the movement of the golf swing and the repetitive nature of it and the negatives it can have on the body.  And they’ve been really good in giving me exercises that don’t get me into bad positions and posture, I guess, and keeping me free to move and swing the club the way I want to or the way my coach would like me to make a change.

It’s a mixture of everything, I like to go five days a week to the gym.  And I do some specific things, to me, that I need to do.  I need to train my legs hard because that’s just the way it is.  If they’re not firing then it affects my golf swing poorly.  So I do some strength stuff with that.  I do a lot of rotation stuff through my spine, which is very important for golf, as that’s all we should be using to hit the golf ball.  And certain other exercises.  So I spend an hour in the gym five days a week, probably.

What about nutrition?

Nutrition, I try and eat as well as I can.  But I certainly don’t deny myself anything.  I just work out harder if I eat bad food.

With the metabolism of youth, you can do that. But as the body slows down, he’ll have to cut back on “bad food” and food volume. And the thing about the slowdown is that it can be very subtle.

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