GULLANE, Scotland – For a few long moments, it seemed the weight might never let Adam Scott stand up.
Sitting back on his haunches, resting that broomstick putter against his forehead, Scott struck a lonely pose on Royal Lytham's 18th green last year after his 8-foot par attempt slid past. After four consecutive bogeys, the British Open crown that seemed his an hour earlier now belonged to Ernie Els.
"I'm sure there will be a next time," Scott said later, "and I can do a better job of it."
Some wondered whether the soft-spoken Australian would be scarred for life.
The memories certainly cannot be sidestepped this week as golf's elite descend upon Muirfield to contest the 142nd British Open. Scott, however, arrives not as a tragic figure but rather as a major champion in search of more.
"Every tournament, I feel, is an opportunity for me now," said the reigning Masters champion, who became the first Australian to wear the green jacket with his triumph on the second hole of a rain-pelted playoff at Augusta in April.
"I haven't won the Open because of the Masters," Scott added. "I still miss out on that. But I'm really looking forward to going back and trying to get myself in a similar kind of situation — a chance to win the Open."
Whatever happens, redemption will not be the Scott narrative. That has been taken care of.
"Incredible comeback," Curtis Strange, winner of two U.S. Opens, said of Scott. "Coming back from a disappointment that very few know what it feels like — it's hard to come back from something like that. Some do and some don't."
Next chapter for Spieth
Last weekend, 19-year-old Jordan Spieth became the youngest PGA Tour winner in 82 years. Within hours, he was on a charter flight across the Atlantic, where he's playing in his first British Open.
It might be a bit of a reach to expect Spieth to contend this week at Muirfield, which he played for the first time Tuesday, facing a tight schedule that will allow him to get in only one full round of practice before the tournament begins.
But he's got plenty of experience with this style of golf, representing the United States in the 2011 Walker Cup at another storied Scottish course, Royal Aberdeen.
"This is my favorite type of golf," Spieth said. "It's fun. You get to use your imagination. You can use all types of clubs around the greens. You can play off ridges. I can pretty much play with [caddie Michael Greller's] head. There's nothing basic. I'm sure he'll be saying, 'What the heck are you trying to do?' a couple of times out there."
Phil Mickelson has been watching Spieth's promising play for three years.
"He's enjoyable to be around," Mickelson said. "He's got charisma. People are drawn to him. He's going to be a real asset to the Tour."
Book on Muirfield
Big danger lurks at Muirfield, with its plentiful rough and its hard, parched fairways that are stirring comparisons with Royal Liverpool in Hoylake in 2006, where Tiger Woods won and the fast-running conditions rendered the driver nearly irrelevant.
"It's just a wonderful design," Els said. "The par-3s are unbelievable. The par-5s have been changed a little bit. They're longer. Each and every hole is a little bit different. There's left to rights; right to lefts, and it all happens out there. Every links shot that you can imagine, you're going to play it this week."
• Justin Rose will try to become the seventh golfer to hold the U.S. Open and British Open titles at the same time. He would join Bobby Jones (1926 and 1930), Gene Sarazen (1932), Ben Hogan (1953), Lee Trevino (1971), Tom Watson (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000).
• The last man before Els to be a double defending champion at an Open championship was Greg Norman, in 1994 at Turnberry. Norman had won there in 1986 and won the 1993 Open at Royal St. George's. Norman then tied for 11th in 1994.
• There have been 20 different winners in the past 22 major championships.