Adam Scott is one of the more experienced players in the field at the 149th Open Championship. The insights gained from his 20 previous starts leading to multiple equipment changes at Royal St. George’s this week.
The Queenslander has been in the U.K. for more than a week in the lead-up to the final major championship of the year in the men’s game. Taking the time to to dial in a new driver to address his woes off the tee in 2021, also adding clubs to the top end of the bag at the expense of a wedge.
“I have, actually,” Scott said when asked about equipment changes on Tuesday morning at Sandwich. “The driver coincidentally I changed because I was driving it – I haven't driven it well this year. The stats clearly show that. It is normally a strong part of my game, and when it is good it filters down through the bag, so I did some work with the guys at Titleist here in the UK when I arrived a couple of weeks ago, and they've got me squared away with a new driver.
“I'm very happy about that, so I'm excited to drive it a bit better this week and try and keep it in the short grass.”
Scott’s new driver is a return to a model he previously had in play before switching to Titleist's TSi2 prior to this year's Masters, while he has also gone back to a familiar shaft in the hope of rediscovering his best golf. Primarily hitting more fairways, a statistic for which Scott ranks 185th on the PGA Tour this season.
“It's the TSi4 head, which I've used earlier this year. The shaft is – it's basically the same shaft I was using when I won the Masters and the period before,” Scott said. “I used that Graphite Design shaft for about four or five years back then, and certainly it's like my comfort zone with a shaft, and nice kind of familiar feelings putting that back in. I'm excited about where the little change with the driver went because, like I said, for me I feel like it's a key to my game. It's a strong suit, and it just hasn't been there.”
As for the rest of the changes to his setup, Scott has moved away from the two fairway woods he typically carries to accommodate a utility 2-iron, while a 3-iron returning to the bag means he moves from four wedges to three. The former World No.1 normally carries a 48°, 52°, 56° and 60°, but has removed the middle two, in favour of a 54°.
"The driver coincidentally I changed because I was driving it – I haven't driven it well this year. The stats clearly show that. It is normally a strong part of my game, and when it is good it filters down through the bag." - Adam Scott.
Scott’s adjustments not uncommon for players at The Open, where links golf and weather require significantly different play to the courses served up on the PGA Tour.
“The Open is a very different test than what we do week in and week out, so I have quite a different bag setup,” he said. “I'm using a 3-wood, which I don't normally use, and then I've taken the 4-wood and the 7-wood out, which I do normally use, and I've put in a driving iron and a 3-iron is back in the bag, which I don't normally use. I've taken one of my wedges out and – two wedges came out and replaced it with one in the middle because I feel like you don't need to use all the loft when you're at The Open. Certainly if it's windy you don't need to play the ball in the air; it's not a priority. So I've got a very different bag setup this week.”
Scott, who has spent the past few days practising at his English club Queenwood rather than Royal St. George’s after checking out the course once out of quarantine, has altered his equipment and approach to not only try and win The Open, but also the latter in light of the R&A’s bubble restrictions in place for players this week.
“Usually I would be down at St. George's by now and playing the weekend; however, slightly different with the bubble-type setup this year. I felt like if I got my work in early I could come in a bit later and just not treat it like a regular event but come in a bit more fresh and play a practice round on Wednesday because I know the course now, and get ready to go and conserve the energy and not be so influenced by some of the restrictions that the bubble has with guys down there.”
Course knowledge is certainly not an issue for the World No.43 who has played two Opens across the most frequent host venue outside of Scotland. And watching his hero Greg Norman take home the Claret Jug at the same site in 1993 created fond memories for Scott, who went agnosingly close to emulating the ‘Great White Shark’ at Lytham in 2012.
“I think it was the most impactful time,” Scott said of Norman’s win. “I was really into golf at that point. I'd stopped playing other sports and I was golf nuts, and it was right around that time that that happened.
“I remember getting up and watching the end, falling asleep a for little bits here and there because it was probably early in the morning. You know, strong images of the whole round, that final round of Greg's really. It was quite inspiring. I think it was the perfect victory and timing for me, looking back on it and wanting to just be out there doing what Greg did.”
"If there is one event I'd like to win before my career is out, it would be The Open." - Adam Scott.
And if there was any question as to Scott’s motivation to continue knocking on the door at majors, and specifically The Open, as he prepares to turn 41 on Friday with one of the most historic moments in Australian sport already on his resume, the 14-time PGA Tour winner left no doubt when discussing his homeland’s drought at the game’s oldest major.
“For me The Open now is, if we had to rank tournaments you'd love to win, that sits clearly at the top,” he said. “I felt like I had a hand on the Jug once, and it was a good feeling while it lasted. I'd like to kind of have two on there. But if there is one event I'd like to win before my career is out, it would be The Open.
“I'm not really stacking the pressure on myself this week, but it would be a lovely story for an Aussie to follow in Greg's footsteps here.”
With Australians winning a swathe of golf tournaments of late, Scott will no doubt want to get in on the act this week. And another iconic moment in our country’s sporting history has put a little extra fire in his belly as well.
“I'm a tennis fan, and like everybody in Australia I'm a huge fan of Ash,” Scott said of Wimbledon champion Ash Barty.
“To win Wimbledon, it's like winning The Open or the Masters for a golfer. It feels like that. So it is incredibly significant. She played great, and it would be fun to keep that Aussie theme going and kind of take Wimbledon away from the UK and The Open trophy. That would be great.”