Adam Scott didn’t think he had a chance to win The Barclays on Sunday. Conditions at Liberty National were tough on Sunday and he frittered away his chance on Saturday with a mediocre 1-over, 72 while the contenders were whipping out 65s to 67s. He’d given away too much and found himself in 13th.
Well, there’s always something to learn out there, but I was playing like a dog after 13 holes yesterday, it was horrible. Was feeling a bit fatigued after a long Friday slog, and just the body was off, the rhythm was off, couldn’t find anything, and somehow made three [late] birdies and salvaged a half‑respectable round, but felt my tournament was really over, and I was just looking for a good finish [on Sunday] and trying not to slip down these FedExCup points.
And so even though he shot a bogey free 66 in the final round, that only got him to 11-under when the leaders were at 13 through the 12th hole.
Yeah, it might be wishful thinking. I’m sure with the quality of player there is out there, even the guys at 10‑under, there are enough opportunities to have a couple birdies coming in if someone wants it bad enough.
Because of who he is and because he became the leader in the clubhouse, CBS invited him to come up into the booth for some comments. As he said later, he only went to be polite. He didn’t think that he had a chance. As a matter of fact, while he thought he should hang around just to be sure, his caddie, Steve Williams, started packing the clubs:
Steve was packing them — yeah (laughter). And then we had to unpack the bag to go to the range (laughing). But he was courteous enough to hang around just in case (laughing).
It says a lot about their relationship that Scott needed to dutifully wait for things to pan out and was completely unoffended that Steve was operating as if his demise was fait accompi. Beyond that, he talked about how their player/caddie relationship has evolved over these first two years:
Well, he’s the guy who can influence me out there, really. And everyone knows, he’s one of the best in the business. There’s a reason why he’s worked for so many great players over the years, and he’s been a great asset to me for sure.
You know, it’s like any relationship, you get to know each other better and better as time goes on, and I think this year we’ve certainly started understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses better, and had to handle certain situations. And when we are in contention, I know what his tendencies are and I think he knows what mine are, and we try and do the best we can with that. Hopefully we just work better and better together.
He embellished just how that relationship works by telling the story of how he came to hit 6-iron off the tee on the drivable par-4, 16th:
Yeah, my nature is go for it. But it was a yardage that I just couldn’t handle. I just had no real shot for that. Taking 15 yards off a driver is pretty hard to judge in a left‑to‑right wind and 3‑wood was just going to kind of end up 15, 20 yards short, and leave me really, what I think is a pretty difficult pitch.
You’ve got really a small margin for error on the pitch, and I didn’t like the fact that I had hit a really nice 3‑wood and have a really hard shot. I could hit a nice 6‑iron and have a pretty easy wedge [and putt which he made]. It was a good putt to make.
But you know, you want to go for it and create a chance, because like at that point [an hour and a half in front of the leaders], I felt I needed plenty of birdies to finish, probably three.
Disciplined to think that away.
Yeah, it’s good discipline. I’ve got a good disciplinarian standing next to me (chuckles). So when I explain some logical thought to him, he’ll hold the 3‑wood and give me the 6‑iron.
What did you hit there?
I hit 6‑iron.
He talked about how much psychological cover he had playing an hour and a half in front of the hard-charging, hard-battling leaders. He acknowledged that theirs was a very difficult proposition:
I guess it’s different playing an hour and a half in front of the leaders and the guys who have been under pressure all day than when you’re out there — and I know how they feel.
When the pressure is on you to close out, it’s much harder and the holes become much harder and shots are far more crucial. I mean, I feel like I’ve been given a bit of a gift, but I’ll take it, that’s for sure.
Given how well all the leaders had played up to that point and the fact that Tiger’s back hadn’t flared up yet, it was almost surreal how all the dominoes began falling Scott’s way. There was no way he was going to win this one, and then one-by-one, all that doubt fell by the wayside. He still had to wait for Gary Woodland’s 12½-foot birdie attempt on 18 — it came down to that last shot of the tournament — but he missed and the prize went to Scott:
I’m pretty shocked. There were so many guys out there with a chance and really didn’t think I had much of a chance.
You know, if you hang around the lead long enough, you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some and this one went my way. So I’m really fortunate that it did and really happy to get another win this year.
That now gives him two victories on the year, one of just five multiple winners this year: Tiger Woods (5), Brandt Snedeker (2), Matt Kuchar (2) and Phil (2, plus a Scottish Open with a good field). Since one of Scott’s is a major (the Masters), his name is now in the conversation with Tiger and Phil for player of the year. Majors count for a lot.
So, for the Top-100 players on the FedExCup points list, on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston! Because the tournament ends on Labor Day next Monday, it doesn’t begin until Friday.
Didn’t I say that The Playoffs is a very exciting time of the year?