Does anyone deserve to win this week’s PGA Championship on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island than Australian Adam Scott ? After his meltdown at the British Open a few weeks ago, Scott likely will be a fan favorite to win the year’s final major this week in South Carolina.
In position for his first major victory, Scott was four shots clear with four holes to play, one hand perhaps starting to size up the coveted claret jug. But four closing bogeys and an 18th-hole birdie by Ernie Els produced a stunning five-shot swing and left Scott one back, with no holes remaining.
Scott went straight from England to his home in Switzerland for a couple of days, where he decompressed and pondered his future in the majestic shadows of the Alps.
“To be honest, I really just felt a bit shocked and almost numb about it,” Scott said, recounting the days following the loss. “I certainly didn’t beat myself up and have to curl up in a corner.”
Then it was off the Kiawah for a couple of practice rounds before jetting up to Akron to defend his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational title last week. He he tied for a lackluster 45th and never broke par.
“I was pretty flat in Akron and it wasn’t quite what I was wanting,” Scott said. “I think being in the mix the whole week just took a little more out of me than maybe I’ve ever felt at a major before. I had never been in the lead for the whole week of a major, and I think there’s a bit of a mental letdown, not just from how it all turned out. So it was good to get out, back swinging. I think this week I can be a bit more alert and get into it.”
Scott hopes he’s in that position again, confident that the painful lessons learned at Lytham will pay off sooner or later. Bouncing back after a major collapse has been done recently (Rory McIlroy won the 2011 US Open after losing a four-shot Sunday lead at the Masters). Scott seeks similar redemption.
“It would be awesome. Obviously the game is pretty good, and to get back in the mix would be a great feeling for me coming off a really great week at the Open,” Scott said.
World ranking: 6.
Worldwide wins: 18.
Best 2012 performances: Runner-up at the British Open.
2012 majors: Masters-T8, US Open-T15, British Open-2
Odds to win: +2500
Overview: He has reason to believe he has never been more equipped to win a major. But it’s a quick turnaround from the anguish of the British Open. Yes, McIlroy lost a four-shot lead at the Masters and won the next major with a record score. But he had two months to get over that. Scott has just over two weeks. The key will be patience until he gets to Sunday, and then see what he learned from Lytham.