A masterful start for Adam Scott
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- From the time he celebrated that winning putt in the sudden-death playoff at Augusta National all the way to being just a few weeks from defending his title, there hardly seems to have been a day, an hour, a minute that Adam Scott has not relished being the Masters champion.
It is safe to say he has absolutely loved the experience, never having tired of talking about it, taking the green jacket all over the globe for others to see, reminiscing a million times about the final day and typically describing the events as if he were doing so for the first time.
Not that Adam Scott needs any help in that department.
Everyone clearly enjoys their victory lap, but the Aussie makes it look like he has relished every inch of the journey. And it has been fun to watch.
Perhaps it has to do with the sporting-mad nation of Australia finally celebrating a Masters champion after a frustrating ride. Maybe it is the way Scott was understated in the week after his victory, but more than willing to show off the spoils of his victory, letting others see him in the green jacket.
It could just be that Scott, 33 -- quite private by nature -- can't help but share the experience.
"It's not hard to embrace that," Scott said after opening the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 62 to take the first-round lead. "It's been something I've wanted a long time. So it may or may not be the one year I get to run around with the green jacket.
"It's been a lot of fun. I may as well have fun with it while I've got it. But it's been mostly what anyone talks to me about in the last 12 months since the Masters. That's what everyone is interested in. So it's not the hardest subject for me to talk about. I could spend plenty of time talking about it. I think you've got to embrace it."
He had -- beautifully. And now his game seems to be shaping up just in time, too.
Perhaps this was simply a hot putting round, but Scott had talked prior to the tournament about hoping to see his game emerge as this is his last event before the Masters. Looks like he can check that box.
In recent years, Scott has altered his schedule to be better prepared for the big events. He has seen value in getting rest and peaking properly, and he has valued the traditions those tournaments hold.
The green jacket, for example.
ARNOLD PALMER INVITATIONAL
• Defending champion: Tiger Woods
• Tee times, leaderboard | Experts' picks
• Venue: Bay Hill Club and Lodge (par-72, 7,400 yards)
• Location: Orlando, Fla.
• TV coverage: Thu., Fri., 3-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel; Sat., Sun., 12:30-2 p.m. ET, Golf Channel, and 2-6 p.m. ET, NBC
• Field changes: Tiger Woods (out), Brice Garnett (in); James Driscoll (out), Charlie Beljan (in); Spencer Levin (out), Morgan Hoffmann (in); Jason Day (out), Jhonattan Vegas (in); John Huh (out), David Lingmerth (in); Charl Schwartzel (out), Hudson Swafford (in)
• Payout: A 120-man field with winner taking $1,152,000 of a $6.4 million purse
• Format: 72-hole stroke play with 36-hole cut to low 70 and ties.
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Masters champions get to take it with them for one year, then are only allowed to wear it on club grounds. Augusta National members do not take their green jackets off the property, unless for an official club function.
"It always gets an incredible reaction if there are golfers in the room," Scott said. "If they're not golfers they wonder why I'm wearing a very bright green jacket. But it gets an incredible response from golfers. It's iconic and it's not seen anywhere. There's apparently only one outside the gates at the moment. It's very rare that it makes an appearance anywhere.
"But there are lots of places I'd love to wear it that I didn't get the chance to. I think in Australia. I think I would have loved to wear it a lot more in Australia. It was such a quick trip home, there weren't enough nights and there were a lot more places to wear it than I had nights up my sleeve. The only way to deal with that is winning again.
"I'd get to take it again around with me."
In a classy move, Scott altered his fall schedule in order to celebrate the victory in Australia. He could have accepted more lucrative opportunities, perhaps played once or twice in his homeland. Instead he played four straight weeks in November at the Australian PGA, Masters, Open and the World Cup, which was at Royal Melbourne.
"That's the biggest spike we've had in Australian golf in 20 years," said veteran PGA Tour player and Australian Stuart Appleby. "Him winning the Masters and then going back down there. Adam did an amazing thing morally to come back to Australia like that. He can't be expected to do that. Nobody understands the time and logistics that takes."
And yet, Scott did it, and continues to love the experience.
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The green jacket is with him this week at Bay Hill, as it has been for every tournament he's played but two since winning the Masters. You can imagine him doing the Tom Cruise routine from "Risky Business," sliding across the floor at his home while wearing that jacket.
Scott didn't say so, but the possibilities are endless.
"Someone told me Phil [Mickelson] went to a drive-through with it on," Scott said. "I didn't really know if I should be pushing the boundaries of where I could wear the green jacket. He's got a few of them. I've got one. I don't want to get anyone upset back there at the golf club just yet.
"Maybe if I can get another couple I can do something else."
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