It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since Adam Scott won Australia’s first green jacket in that thrilling playoff victory over Angel Cabrera, yet on the eve of the 2014 Masters Tournament, Scott has positioned himself well to make a run at defending his championship.
For a player who has always had the talent to win majors, but could never quite get over the hump, Scott could easily have gotten overwhelmed by his success, but he’s actually been playing some of the best golf on the planet in the year since his Augusta triumph. Most players would kill for his resume over the last twelve months: two major top-five finishes, a FedEx Cup Playoff victory, a near triple-crown back home in Australia, and a win with countryman Jason Day at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. In fact, his 2014 is shaping up to be even better than 2013 was, if current form holds up.
The biggest thing in Scott’s favor? He doesn’t come into Masters week with any baggage beyond the pressure of being the defending champion. Unlike Day, another popular choice to win his first major this week, Scott has been healthy. He’s rested, and despite a limited schedule, he picks his spots well to keep his game in top shape.
Statistically, Scott hasn’t let up at all since last season. He’s hitting greens at about the same clip (68.33% in 2014) that had him near the top of the PGA Tour last year, and while it’s admittedly earlier, he’s improved his scrambling, meaning he’s saving pars at a better rate than last year. While scoring is important at the Masters, it’s equally, if not more important, not to give up easy strokes. Sounds easy, but as we saw last year, this tournament often comes down to the final holes, and one or two bogeys can make all the difference.
What we really saw last year, when Bubba Watson draped that green jacket over Scott’s shoulders, was a transformation in the type of player he was, and the type of player he always knew he could be. With the type of confidence he carries into this Masters week, it’s hard to see Scott letting any of it slip away ever again.