Adam Scott says he's taking inspiration from Phil Mickelson's extraordinary triumph at the US PGA and is confident that the best golf of his career is yet to come as he starts his assaults on the big titles in his forties.
Australia's lone Masters winner Scott is in a buoyant mood at Royal St. George's this week as he gets set for his 21st crack at winning The Open Championship, the title that he reckons is now top of his wish list as he turns 41 on Friday.
And the Queenslander is confident that his best golf is still to come as he seeks to claim the title he has come close to winning in the past, even admitting he felt as though he had one hand on the Claret Jug in 2012.
Asked about whether he felt he'd be a contender for the biggest titles in his forties, Scott said on Tuesday: "Yes, absolutely. Luckily, I've really not had any setbacks physically for years.
"I think looking at where I am physically at 40 – I'm in good shape. And certainly seeing Phil (Mickelson) win the PGA at 50 has given me motivation to kind of keep myself in good shape."
The veteran left-handed Mickelson captured his sixth major, and certainly his most surprising, at Kiawah Island when at 50 years 11 months and eight days he became the oldest winner in 161 years of major championship golf.
It had a big effect on Scott.
"I certainly feel the big picture for me at the moment is that the best stuff can still come." – Adam Scott
"From a distance, being able to see the effort he's put into his body physically the last few years so he can be out there contending – so it certainly can be done," he said.
"And there are always exceptions to the rule. Vijay (Singh) and Steve Stricker, you could argue, played their best golf in their 40s and I certainly feel the big picture for me at the moment is that the best stuff can still come."
Indeed, he's expecting a big week at the Kent links course as The Open returns to action with big crowds after the 2020 event was cancelled because of the pandemic.
Scott was back on the course last week and immediately felt the old confidence return on the links courses which he's learned to master down the years.
"I had a big refresher course last week – and the confidence goes back up," he said.
"I think I've got everything where I wanted it and given that I've had good results in The Open over the years, I think I'm very confident that I can have one (practice) round tomorrow and get out there and put myself in contention through the week."
Scott has had two top-three, three top-five and five top-10 finishes down the years, including his runner-up finish at Royal Lytham in 2012 when, famously, he led by four with four holes to go but bogeyed them all and lost by a stroke to Ernie Els.
"I thought I had a hand on the jug once – and it was a good feeling. But I'd kind of like to have two on there!" said Scott, still able – just – to laugh about the memory.
"If there is one event I'd like to win before my career is out, it'd be The Open."
- Ian Chadband, Australian Associated Press