Adam Scott is going to have a difficult time matching the success he saw in 2013, but he’s on the right track. No, he won’t be spending more hours on the driving range or the putting green, and he won’t be putting in more hours on the course playing. Instead, Scott is going to take a bit of an absence from competitive golf over the next six weeks to switch off and recharge the batteries a bit.
Scott played in 16 events on the PGA tour in 2013, earning two victories — the Masters and the Barclays. He finished outside of the top 25 only six times. Of the 10 other events, he boasts dual third place finishes at the WGC Cadillac Championship and the British Open (excuse me, The Open Championship) and four other top 10 finishes. All said, a career year for the 33-year-old Australian.
Golf is a different kind of sport compared to the big four (i.e. baseball, football, hockey and basketball). It’s obviously not overly physical, but it is demanding. The biggest challenge is the mental side obviously, and it’s quite easy to burn yourself out. These guys practice every day they aren’t competing, which usually consists of a minimum of a two hour range session, two hour short game session (putting, chipping, 60 yards and in, etc., and nine or 18 holes. You have to love what you are doing and when it starts to feel like work, it’s time for a break.
For the more successful guys, they plan their breaks as preventative maintenance — a way to feel refreshed throughout the year — rather than as needed. Once you get to the point of burnout, recovery can take much longer, ultimately costing you more money. It sounds like Scott falls into this camp.
What Scott is doing is a smart move. It is something that can be compared to the way Tiger Woods approached the game during the peak of his success. Woods would average around 15-16 events per year, which included the four majors, and he hand picked all of the other events. Having the flexibility to shop for tournaments a la carte is what arguably kept him fresh by comparison to a guy who has to play in 25 events to try to keep his card.
Using Woods as a model is good in many ways, but Scott should be cautioned against mirroring Woods entirely. It would certainly be a shame to see Scott marry a supermodel, produce two kids, wreck his car, and then lose everything he has for a few years.
At any rate, Scott will have a solid 2014 season as a direct outcome of this break, though his season will probably start out a bit slow and rusty. He will come back refreshed and will want (rather than need) to work on his game, which will make him a hungrier competitor. It should certainly be exciting to watch.
Vinny Gala is a former collegiate golfer and writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @VinnyGala.