Commentary

Adam Scott's T-5 caps major season

Updated: August 11, 2013, 11:22 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- There was disappointment, to be sure, but when sizing up his year's work in the major championships, Adam Scott could only be pleased.

That is the beauty of winning one of golf's biggest tournaments.

It doesn't make the close calls any easier to take, but it does present them in a different light. Scott had three top-5 finishes in major championships this year, which makes for an excellent record when one of them is a victory.

Nobody will forget Scott's historic win at the Masters Tournament n April: his sudden-death playoff triumph over Angel Cabrera at Augusta National. He became the first Australian to win a green jacket, and, suddenly, his string of close calls has been turned into a positive rather than a negative.

[+] EnlargeAdam Scott
David Cannon/Getty ImagesAdam Scott said he wants to get himself into contention more at the majors. Well, the Australian certainly did that in 2013 after winning the Masters and finishing T-3 at the Open Championship and T-5 at this week's PGA Championship.

"It's really satisfying," Scott said Sunday after an even-par round of 70 put him in a tie for fifth at the PGA Championship, 5 strokes behind winner Jason Dufner. "Obviously, the goal was to win one, but the real goal is to put myself in this position a lot more.

"At some point this year, I think I led every major during the week. Obviously, I'm peaking at the right times. It's hard to stay there for four days and have the lead the whole time, but I feel like I'm improving still. So it's something to build on for next year's season."

Dufner's victory capped a stirring year in the major championships -- kicked off by Scott's win at the Masters, followed by the first major title for Justin Rose at the U.S. Open, then Phil Mickelson's comeback at the Open Championship and, finally, the redemption for Dufner at the PGA.

Two years ago, Dufner blew a 5-stroke lead over the closing holes to Keegan Bradley and lost in a playoff at Atlanta Athletic Club. This year, Dufner shot a major championship record-tying 63 in the second round, then closed with a 68 for his first major title.

It was a year that saw top-10 players capture the first three majors, and then Dufner, who was ranked 21st coming into the week, put the cap on the year.

He was among 13 players who made the cut in all four major championships, and Scott and fellow Aussie Jason Day led the way with an aggregate of 2-over par for their 16 rounds. Scott, of course, wins any arguments of best year due to his Masters victory.

"I was a lot over at the U.S. Open," said Scott, who finished 45th at the only major in which he was not a Sunday contender. "That means I'm playing really good in the others. I think I was cumulative-low man last year, as well [as] in the four majors [he was top 15 in all]. If that's the case, I'm doing something right. I wish it added up to more than one win in eight, but I'm going to try and do all the right things between now and next April and go back and try and defend and try and get into contention again."

Much how Jack Nicklaus' 19 runner-up finishes in major championships make his overall record look even more impressive -- he won 18 -- Scott can take the same feeling forward.

Since the start of the 2009 season, Scott has nine top-15 finishes in major championships, including a win and two runner-ups. He has often said his crushing defeat to Ernie Els at last year's Open Championship offered up more positives than negatives.

After Scott and Day, Dufner was tied with Henrik Stenson at a cumulative 4-over par in the 2013 majors. Lee Westwood was 10-over, followed by Tiger Woods at 14-over and Matt Kuchar at 15-over.

The others to make the cut in all four majors were Brandt Snedeker, Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, K.J. Choi and Martin Kaymer.

Of the group that made the cut in all four majors, Day, Stenson, Westwood, Kuchar, Snedker, Garcia, Johnson and Choi have not won a major title.

They've got eight months before another opportunity comes along.

"Yep, it's a real long time until the Masters," Scott said. "It's nearly a year. I'm sure it will go quick like everything does. On the PGA Tour, we have still got so much to play for this year. There is no time to rest. There will be time to rest later."

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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