Adam Scott has made rare equipment changes in anticipation of needing every ounce of length he can muster as he chases a second Masters title at Augusta National this week.
The 2013 Masters champion has a new driver – longer in length to his previous model – and has introduced the latest Titleist ball, his first such change in over five years.
While most players upgrade equipment on a yearly basis as technology improves, an old-school Scott likes to stick with what works until it doesn't anymore.
In this case he's making an exception as forecast rain and the recent success of power hitters like Bryson DeChambeau and Matthew Wolff suggest he needs to play the power game to keep up.
The 40-year-old trialled the changes last week at the Houston Open and despite a poor third round costing him a chance to win, he ranked first in driving distance.
"I haven't changed balls since 2015 so it is a big deal for me. This is in response to the needs at Augusta. I see everyone moving up the ranks distance wise and if I'm standing still I'm actually going backwards," Scott confirmed to AAP.
"Over the past 10 years Augusta has turned into a bit of a driving golf course and it's very advantageous if you have a good balance of being long and hitting fairways. Tee shots now outweigh how important the short game and putting is here which was not historically the case.
“This is in response to the needs at Augusta. I see everyone moving up the ranks distance wise and if I'm standing still I'm actually going backwards.” – Adam Scott
"I'm not going to push myself into a bad place, but I am interested in getting gains. And there were gains in Houston that I am pleased with."
The COVID-19 break in golf came at a time Scott had recaptured his best form, claiming the 2020 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles to break a near four-year win drought on the PGA Tour. As such it stalled his momentum.
Having returned to Australia prior to lockdowns, Scott didn't return to the Tour until the US PGA Championship in August and missed more golf after testing positive to COVID-19 recently.
Despite the rough run he says he's ready to add a second major title to his resume.
"I am very confident that I have everything in place to win," Scott said. "I'm swinging the club really nicely lately and since isolation I'm not having any fatigue issues or any heathy concerns.
"It's been a difficult year for everyone but all of that can be put to the side a little with a victory this week. It might always be hard to top being the first Australian to win the Masters but being the first to win it twice would be very nice too."
- Ben Everill, Australian Associated Press