Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Returning to the scene of a disaster can
elicit a number of unpleasant reactions: flashbacks, anxiety, fear, regret.
So how will Adam Scott respond when he tees off next week at the British Open,
a year after throwing away the tournament in devastating fashion?
Scott gave up a 4-stroke lead to Ernie Els with four holes to play at Royal
Lytham & St. Annes. It was a train wreck, a tsunami, an eight-car pileup. The
Aussie should be exuding symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder this year
at Muirfield. But there's a good chance he won't. In fact, he might even win
How does one go from British Open punch line to contender in less than a year?
Win a major, that's how.
It's hard to label a guy a choke artist when he drains a 20-foot birdie putt
on the 72nd hole at Augusta National, then takes down former champion Angel
Cabrera in a playoff to win the Masters.
Scott won his first major at Augusta in April and improved both his reputation
and fortunes in the process. He's still the guy who bogeyed the last four holes
at the British Open, but he proved to both himself and the public that the loss
didn't break him. Instead, it made him stronger. And the Masters win should
only bolster his chances of capturing another major.
"The experience of dealing with coming down the stretch and ultimately winning,
hopefully, will hold me in good stead the next time I get that chance," he said
before the U.S. Open in June.
Scott didn't get that chance at Merion, as four rounds in the 70s precluded
him from contending down the stretch and left him in a tie for 45th. He has
played just once since then -- a tie for 57th at AT&T National. But Scott is
in the midst of a plan he enacted a few years ago, which involves him playing
fewer tournaments and practicing more effectively as he targets major
And redemption at the British Open is in his sights.
History is not against the soon-to-be 33-year-old. Seven men have won both the
Masters and the British Open in the same year, most recently Tiger Woods
in 2005. The others were Mark O'Meara (1998), Nick Faldo (1990), Tom Watson
(1977), Gary Player (1974), Jack Nicklaus (1966) and Arnold Palmer (1962).
Heady company to be sure. Woods, O'Meara, Faldo and the ageless Watson will be
in the field next week, as will the usual names: McIlroy, Rose, Mickelson,
McDowell and Els. But Scott has as good a chance as any.
In psychiatry, there is a PTSD treatment known as exposure therapy. In it, the
patient revisits a former traumatic event in a controlled setting, without the
risk of danger.
Scott will revisit his British Open disaster next week, but in a way the danger
has already been removed. He already confronted and overcame the collapse when
he persevered dramatically at Augusta. He has his major championship. He
restored and furthered his reputation. And ... he laid the groundwork for
redemption at Muirfield.
The Sports Network