Adam Scott says foregoing the Australian summer golf events has him feeling refreshed as he prepares for an early start to his year at the PGA Tour’s Sony Open in Hawaii.
The former World No.1 skipped the Australian Open and Australian PGA late last year in favour of an 11-week break with family in his native Queensland.
Scott faced criticism for his move despite it being just the second summer schedule he had missed in 18 years.
“It was the right decision for me; I didn't feel good about not playing (in Australia),” Scott told AAP at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
The 38-year-old made the decision after playing a heavy 2018 schedule of 22 tournaments worldwide – three more than he played in 2017.
That was because 2013 Masters champion Scott plummeted down the world rankings and was forced to play extra tournaments in order to qualify for the US Open.
“I feel like (playing in Australia) would have been detrimental in the big picture; I wasn't exactly where I wanted to be last year,” Scott said.
“It would have been a bad idea to take a quick break, half prepare for a couple of events and slap it around.
“I'd rather start in the US earlier, play well and come back to Australia at the end of this year and win.”
Scott is starting his year five weeks earlier than in recent times – a change designed to be more prepared for the major championship season which starts at the Masters in April.
When Scott last began his year at the Sony Open back in 2016 his next three PGA Tour events delivered a runner-up finish and back-to-back victories.
“I have to say, 2016 did cross my mind; it didn't do me any harm starting the year here,” he said.
“I really enjoy the golf course; you have to play some great golf to be up there which gives you a good gauge of where your game is at.”
Scott is joined at the Sony Open by countrymen Marc Leishman, who tied fourth at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions on Maui, recent Australian PGA winner Cameron Smith, Matt Jones and Cameron Davis.
“Waialae is a different golf course to last week, but I feel like I'm driving it as well as I ever have and I know I can contend at this event,” Leishman said.
Big names in the field at Waialae include major winners Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Vijay Singh.
-Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press