Parents are prone to being boastful about their children and their achievements. And Phil Scott has every right to do so when talking about son Adam’s golf career. But the elder Scott’s also knows his son’s game better than anyone, and his assessment of his form bodes well for Adam’s chances this week.
“I think he is as close as what I have seen to that sort of 2013/2014 form since then. He’s really close,” Phil told Golf Australia magazine of the 2013 Masters champion’s game on Monday at Augusta National.
Having played their annual practice round together on Sunday, Phil was full of excitement at Adam’s chances of becoming Australia’s first ever multiple Masters winner, as he discussed the joy he carries with him as the parent of the man to break the Australian Augusta drought, while also noting the difference in the 38-year-old’s preparation this week.
“It will never go away that for me,” Scott said of his ongoing pride from the 2013 victory. “I know it’s the neatest thing for him as well that when you have won here you just come here. You come here till they ask you not to, and for me it’s probably almost the same but for me it will be him saying ‘Don’t come Dad’. It couldn’t be better, as a broken down old pro to think I can just beetle up here on the Sunday before The Masters and have a game is fantastic."
RIGHT: Adam and Phil Scott during their annual practise round at Augusta in 2014. PHOTO: Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.
“I mean I look forward to that day for a year, every year now. It was a great day. And we played ok. Adam played nicely, looks really good.”
“There were a couple of years where I played with him where I thought ‘he’s not doing it easily’ it looked like he was coming off where he was aiming. I know for someone like Adam here, he just wants to be getting around hitting it nicely and then it’s just about whether you can put it together for the week.”
Whether Adam can put four rounds together in 2019 seems more likely than in recent years for reasons beyond his solid form leading in.
Having undergone a major transformation in his off course life after getting married and having two children Scott appears to have found a good golf and life balance. And is noticeably relaxed as he continues his preparations at an Augusta National course that received a soaking on Monday afternoon when severe thunderstorms rolled in and closed the course, with more wild weather predicted for Tuesday.
Scott’s comfort with his game and life reigniting some of his competitive fire according to his Dad, who as a professional golfer himself is better credentialed than most parents to pass judgement on Adam’s struggles in the previous two years.
“Life’s good, he’s settled down, the family thing was unsettling, no more for him than for everyone else that’s had a wife and two kids, it just changes everything,” Phil said of Adam’s life changing entry into fatherhood and how it affected his game. “And we probably see today at the top level, you drop one or two percent and you look like the Muppet show out there don’t you, and it’s not that bad but you just can’t drop.
“So, whilst he was a bit unsettled and getting the family settled down, he found it a bit difficult and then it can be a snowball, you lose a little confidence, and now you’ve dropped another percent. And all that’s behind him now, he’s settled down and life’s good with the kids and for whatever reason from that he’s hungry again. I think he looks at the next five or six years and said ‘This is it, I need to finish off really well’.”
Part of Scott’s preparation for a slightly more hectic tournament schedule in early 2019 was to skip the Australian summer of golf after being one of the best supporters of golf in our country for many years. Scott’s decision, a tough one for the Queenslander to make, was one most understood, although some of the Australian golf public was less accepting. Something that Phil says was difficult to watch and listen to.
“It was a tough couple of years with family and moving, he’s not like most of us staying in one place all the time and all those things have an effect” he said. “And it’s a long way back home at the end of a long year, and for Adam, and a couple of the other guys, but probably more so for Adam, there is big expectation when he comes home.
“Absolutely it is,” Scott added when asked if the occasional criticism hit home. “I mean both professionally in the industry and parentally. The hard bit is that a lot of it is just wrong. What I have been disappointed in, the last couple of years at home is that nobody bothers to get in touch with our office and find out actually what’s happening.”
Although Phil is quick to defend his boy when he feels he has been misrepresented or unfairly judged, they maintain a classic Australian father son dynamic that includes sledging one another, particularly when it comes to golf.
The younger Scott described his father’s putter as looking “like something he made in his garage” before their round on Sunday. With Phil quick to retort when told of the comment on Monday and emphasise that while he no longer has any coaching involvement in Adam’s game he did play a significant role in his development. A fact the proud but quick witted father will forever have in any jovial back and forth between the two.
“His putter is not a lot different to my putter, his putter looks like a tick, an elongated tick, my putter is superb,” Phil joked.
“I don’t coach him at all, I might chat about mental things that may or may not be direct golf, but I certainly don’t comment technically, because you can’t have more than one coach, that’s a mistake, if he asks me something I’ll offer an opinion. Now I know what he thinks about my putting however, or my putter, I might rethink that answer though. I mean I am happy to remind him how he got good.”