Adam Scott is this
generation's Fred Couples—he makes it look so easy you can never tell how hard
he's trying. Dressed like a model, with the looks of a movie star, his
movements set to a soundtrack of squealing female fans and ringing cash
registers, Scott glides around a golf course with such grace he conjures
comparisons with Fred Astaire, not Fred Funk.
At age 27 he has
won seven international events and five times on the PGA Tour, notably the 2004
Players Championship, which was followed two months later by another victory,
at the Booz Allen Classic. Even so, questions remain as to just how much he
wants it. Asked this question directly, Scott says, "I want to win. Badly.
It is what drives me." And yet during this brief answer his gaze drifts
from the eyes of his inquisitor to an oversized TV in his hotel room, on which
he is idly monitoring a college basketball game. Maybe this is a sign of
modesty, or residual shyness from his quiet upbringing in Brisbane on
Australia's Gold Coast. But if Scott can't look a reporter in the eye while
expressing his desire, how is he supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the
best golfers in the world?
No one knows Scott
better than his longtime coach and confidant, Butch Harmon, and he, too, is
impatient for his prize pupil to develop the flintiness that has defined so
many great champions. "He has a tremendous work ethic," says Harmon.
"No one in golf is working harder to get better." At the start of the
year Harmon made headlines by crowing that among golf's young talents, Scott is
the player most likely to challenge Tiger Woods. The racy quotes were less an
honest assessment, however, than a ploy to motivate Scott. "I wanted to
light a fire under him," says Harmon. "It's time for him to show the
world how good he is."
everyone else, knows how this can be done. "I have to play better in the
majors, simple as that," he says.
Scott has been a
can't-miss kid at least since 2001, when he won his first European tour event
at age 20. The victory at the Players seemed to signal his arrival as a
superstar, but in the years since he has been very good but not quite good
enough. Last season he won only once worldwide, in Houston, where he prevailed
despite hitting his tee shot into the water on the 72nd hole. More to the
point, he was a nonfactor at all the major championships, as he has been
throughout his career. (In 27 majors Scott has only four top 10s.)
But dig a little
deeper and 2007 was hardly a lost year, as Scott learned plenty from assorted
growing pains. Last season the onetime boy wonder embraced full-blown
adulthood, taking control of his business affairs, moving into his first house,
and rethinking and recommitting to his practice and workout routines. The
stunning final-round 61 to roar to victory at the Qatar Masters in January was
confirmation that all the change was worth it, but Scott is no longer satisfied
rolling up victories in B-list tournaments.
we're doing is geared toward the Masters," says Harmon. "For Adam, it's
all about Augusta."
preparing for the Masters in February, with a spring training of sorts in
Oceanside, Calif., where he tuned up his game and equipment at the cutting-edge
Titleist Performance Institute. With his triumph in Qatar only a week old,
Scott radiated good cheer. In press-conference settings he chooses his words
carefully, often suppressing a dry sense of humor. In the relaxed environment
of the Performance Institute he was good for nonstop giggles. His personal
trainer, David Darbyshire, dumped some electrolyte powder into Scott's bottled
water. "We're trying to do all our drugs now, before the testing
begins," Scott deadpanned. "After that we'll just smoke our
For this season
Scott has retained Darbyshire, a fixture around the Tour, on an exclusive
contract, and they are religious about working out twice a day, every day.
Their first scheduled day off in 2008 is the Monday after the Masters. A few
weeks ago Scott took a surfing vacation on the Maldives with his girlfriend,
Marie Kojzar, and he insisted that Darbyshire tag along.
"In the past I
would work with a trainer at tournaments, but on my off weeks I would work out
on my own," says Scott. "It's not the same. I would get tighter, and my
swing would change a bit without me even knowing it. Then I'd come out on Tour
and work with a trainer again, and my body and my swing wouldn't feel