- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Even an old soul like Scott couldn't help but be distracted by all the off-course commerce last year. Setting up his management company "was a lot of work," he says, "probably a bit more than I expected." At the same time he was also ramping up work on the Adam Scott Foundation, which has a charter to serve Australia's underprivileged and disadvantaged youth. In addition to providing academic scholarships, the foundation announced last April that it would fund and construct a specialized apartment complex in Brisbane for young people with disabilities who require 24-hour care.
"When he takes on a project, he dives in," says Adam's father, Phil, a prominent course designer in Australia. "He has been candid that last year he felt a bit distracted by all the decisions he had to make off the course." Last year the Scotts collaborated on Crooked River Golf Club, which will be the first Adam Scott signature design when it opens in 2010. Located in Kimana, 90 miles south of Sydney, the enticing site features rolling heathland, winding creeks and old-growth forests. After walking the land on a half-dozen occasions, Adam has come up with an old-school design featuring narrow fairways and small greens framed by challenging runoff areas. "His tastes are from a different era," says Phil. "He has zero interest in building the world's largest waterfall."
The other major life event that Scott went through in 2007 was moving into his first house, which ate up much of November. His dream home is on the Gold Coast just south of Brisbane, perched atop a bluff with sweeping views of postcard-perfect Sanctuary Cove. It has a sleek, modern feel and all the Cribs-worthy goodies, like a 12-person screening room. Though he is happy to be establishing some roots, Scott admits that playing house has freaked him out a bit. "It's a little overwhelming," he says. "I don't know if I'm in the house/dog/picket-fence mode yet."
Scott is sixth in the World Ranking; all five players ahead of him are married with children, but he says he is a long way from domesticity, even though he has been dating Kojzar, who's from Sweden, on and off, for seven years. "I couldn't imagine having a family and traveling the Tour," Scott says.
For now, at least, Scott's time line is simpatico with Kojzar's, as she is tethered to their base in London while studying to become an architect. (Scott also keeps a chalet in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, for tax reasons and the occasional ski getaway.) "My girlfriend is a really ambitious person," says Scott. "She hasn't been going to school all these years to not put that knowledge to use."
Kojzar's low profile on the golf circuit is all the more noteworthy because Scott's galleries tend to be predominantly female. "I love to play near him," Stuart Appleby, a fellow Aussie, says. "You ever see seagulls in the ocean? If you're a fisherman, that's where you go because you know there are fish. With Adam, you know where the young, single women are."
Scott insists his girlfriend has nothing to worry about. "She's seen that most of them are well under age," he says. But Shelly Ryan, his public relations manager, says, "His female fan base is crazy. Plenty of times, I've been opening his mail and some girl has sent him underwear to sign. When I follow him at tournaments, the comments in the gallery make me blush."
Scott has helped polish his image through a portfolio of endorsement deals with high-end companies, notably by sporting a spiffy Burberry wardrobe that has landed him on Esquire's best-dressed list. Scott makes in the neighborhood of $8 million annually off the course, and lately he has begun referring to himself as a brand with only a little self-consciousness. A true world player who competes regularly in Australia, Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., Scott has the potential for wide-ranging crossover stardom, as long as he can deliver between the ropes. "Things are going to explode when he wins a major," says Ryan. Scott is used to hearing such talk, and he has made peace with the accompanying expectations. "I'm ready for all that," he says. "At least I think I am."
IN AUSTRALIA there is a phenomenon known as the Tall Poppy syndrome, a sometimes pejorative term used to describe an egalitarian society's tendency to chop down to size anybody whose ego or achievements make him stand out too much. This cultural baggage may or may not help explain Norman's careerlong failings in the major championships, particularly at the Masters, where he was four times a runner-up, including the gruesome finish in 1996 when he let a six-stroke lead slip away during the final round. In Australia that telecast played out early on a Monday morning, and Scott vividly recalls watching the Shark unravel before glumly trudging off to school. Augusta will always have special resonance for Aussie golfers because of Norman's annual psychodrama there, and Scott does not try to hide how much he covets a green jacket. "It would be sweet to be the first Australian to win the Masters," he says. "One of us is going to win there sooner rather than later, and I'm working hard to be the guy who breaks through." This seven-decade drought is even more surprising given that Augusta National replicates many of the shot values of Australia's famed Sand Belt courses. (The National's designer, Alister MacKenzie, also laid out Royal Melbourne, which Scott cites as one of his favorite courses.)
At Scott's first Masters, in 2002, he freewheeled his way to a tie for ninth. He seemed destined to be an annual contender, but in his five visits since he has failed to finish better than 23rd. Speaking of all the majors, Scott says, "I haven't played well in them, if I'm honest. I think for a long time I felt I wasn't good enough to win one of them. That's an experience thing."