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.”
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