Scott’s rankings rise
Two years ago, a rather dejected looking Adam Scott stood next to Ernie Els at the conclusion of the 2012 Open Championship, watching the South African hold the Claret Jug he came so close to having in his own possession.
Scott had blown a four-shot lead over the closing holes at Royal Lytham as his dream of a maiden major championship title went up in smoke.
A sympathetic Els assured the young Australian he would not have to wait long before becoming a major champion himself.
Less than 12 months later, Els’ words appeared more than a little prophetic, as Scott triumphed at fabled Augusta National to earn the coveted green jacket.
That Masters victory would prove to be just the start of bigger and better things for Scott, who has since become one of golf’s most consistent performers.
A little over a year since that triumph and three more victories later, Scott lifted yet another trophy at the Crowne Plaza Invitational – this time as the new World No 1.
It was a tournament he had only entered at the last minute to justify moving to the top of the rankings days previously.
There was a chance his reign could have lasted just one week as Henrik Stenson made an assault on the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Scott needed at least a top 13 finish to ensure he maintained his position at the summit – but he did far better than that – rolling home an eight-foot birdie putt at the third play-off hole to lift the trophy and become just the second man to win the week following a rise to No.1 after Ian Woosnam in 1991.
It was a victory that suggested the Australian’s reign at the top might be more than just a passing phase.
“It’s so satisfying in so many ways to get it done,” Scott said. “It’s a good feeling, and maybe some validation.”
At times, his Colonial win didn’t look all that likely. Scott bogeyed four of his first nine holes in the first round. Midway through his final round, he had a double-bogey that dropped him three strokes off the lead.
“Maybe added a little pressure for myself, trying to play like a No.1. But I think the important thing was I realised that didn’t mean playing perfect, and I certainly didn’t play perfect all week,” Scott said. “But the way you come back and get it done, and I felt like I certainly played like one of the best players in the world out there on the back nine.”
That he did, and in truth, he’d been playing like it for the better part of 12 months.
Stenson’s finish at Wentworth meant he moved up to the World No 2 spot, and with a resurgent Rory McIlroy in the frame and Tiger Woods itching to get back into action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury, the battle for the World No 1 ranking is sure to be interesting in the months ahead.
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