Saturday, January 20, 2018
Golf

Adam Scott enjoying himself leading up to Masters title defense

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Adam Scott is relishing every part of being Masters champion.

The drive up Magnolia Lane. A couple of practice rounds with his dad. Wearing the green jacket. And, certainly, the champions dinner Tuesday night.

But before anyone gets worked up about having to eat "bugs," no worries — that's just Aussie-speak for a type of lobster.

Scott went with surf-and-turf off the barbie for his Down Under-themed menu, so he doesn't expect too many complaints.

"I think they are going to be pretty happy with what I serve up," he said with a sly smile, "particularly the wine."

A year later, Scott is back at the scene of his greatest triumph, a playoff victory over Angel Cabrera that gave the 33-year-old Australian his first major championship. The breakthrough, after many close calls and missed chances, has propelled him to the greatest run of his career, including top-five finishes at the U.S. Open and British Open.

Scott knows he has the game to add another major title or two to his resume.

He's eager to take advantage of it.

"I'm at the highest level I've ever been at," Scott said. "My window of opportunity, I really think, is right now, and I don't know when it will close. So I just have to keep going as hard as I can right now."

From the back of the room, his parents, Phil and Pam Scott, looked on proudly. After Adam was done with his interview session, they joined him on the podium for a family photo.

Phil Scott is pleased with the way his son has dealt with his increased fame.

"You can have respect for everything, from the game to the course to you guys," the father told a small group of reporters. "You've got a choice to do it nicely or not. If you take the choice to do it nicely, I think you will have a better time."

MISSING TIGER: Phil Mickelson has had a long and not always friendly rivalry with Tiger Woods. Yet Mickelson said that he'll miss Woods, who is sitting out after having back surgery March 31.

"It's a weird feeling not having him here, isn't it?" Mickelson said. "I hope he gets back soon. I mean, I hope he's back for the other majors, and as much as I want to win and I know how great he is and tough to beat it … it also makes it special when he's in the field and you're able to win."

Mickelson, 43, has had his own injury issues, but he played all four rounds at the Shell Houston Open last week and an 18-hole practice round at Augusta National and said he felt healthy.

THREE, NOT FIVE: One of the most interesting groups for the opening two rounds is Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. McIlroy is the old man in the group at 24. Spieth is 20. The two "youngsters" are playing their first Masters; in fact, Reed, 23, is playing his first major.

McIlroy looked at it another way: "There's going to be no top-five players in that group."

That was a reference to Reed, who declared on national TV after he won at Doral that he felt he was one of the world's top five players. McIlroy is at No. 9, Spieth at No. 13 and Reed at No. 23.

78th Masters

When/where: Thursday-Sunday, Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club

Purse: To be determined ($8.1 million in 2013)

Defending champion: Adam Scott

Field: 96 players (90 professionals, six amateurs)

TV: Thursday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m., ESPN; Saturday, 3-7 p.m., Ch. 10; April 13, 2-7 p.m., Ch. 10

Online: masters.com

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