ADAM SCOTT gets back into the golfing saddle this week as defending champion at the 2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
Scott has had heaps of support – critically from the likes of Greg Norman and Rory McIlroy – since his final round meltdown at the 2012 British Open just a couple of weeks ago.
Basically, what they are telling Scott is to focus on the outstanding 68 holes he played at Royal Lytham and to use it as a positive to bounce back.
This week the 32 year old Australian gets his first chance to do that at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, against a field that includes most of the world’s top golfers.
This WGC event is a step down from a Major but does carry more kudos than most regular tour events.
McIlroy is just one of the big names who will battle Scott for the title. Others include multiple winner of this event Tiger Woods, Masters Champion Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell. There’s also of course Scott’s Open Championship nemesis Ernie Els.
McIlroy had his own famous Major meltdown at the 2011 Masters when he blew an overnight four shot lead and carded a final round 80.
He bounced back at the following US Open to win by eight shots.
“You need to lose before you can win,” McIlroy said this week, revealing he sent Scott a text message after the Australian blew what seemed a certain first Major win.
“I sort of felt like I knew how he was feeling,” the young Northern Irishman said. “I just said to him, ‘don’t let the last four holes hide the fact that you played better than everyone else for the first 68’.
“It’s a tough loss … you think it’s the only chance you’re ever going to get, and your whole world came crashing down.
“But in reality, Adam is such a great player that he’s going to have plenty of chances to win more major championships.”
In London this week long-time Scott mentor Greg Norman defended his protégé, saying such collapses in golf were commonplace.
“There is not a player on this planet who hasn’t done that,” Norman said, and that would obviously have to include himself.
“… when you put yourself up there in that upper echelon, you’re going to get those things happening to you. Embrace them. Embrace the adversity of life and learn about how you can improve on them in any way you can.”
“I said to him ‘you played 68 great holes. You played 50 per cent of your shots on the last four holes … fantastic. You have to walk away thinking about how well and how easily you beat the field in 68 holes’,” Norman said.
“He can’t walk away from it with a negative fashion, in a negative inflection being drilled into his brain. Even though he didn’t win, I think this is going to be the catalyst for him to go on to bigger and better things.”
Jason Day will also return to competitive golf this week after sitting out the British Open to be present at the birth of his first son, Dash.
“I’m already not stressing out as much about golf as I know there are much bigger things in life,” Day said this week.
“It feels like a long time since I played although it’s really only a few weeks. I’m a little rusty but still very confident.
“Hopefully I can do a little better than last year and, although I have had time off, I practised hard last week and feel good. I think I can compete and even win.”
Other Aussies in the field include John Senden, Greg Chalmers, Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley and Marc Leishman.
2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational TV Coverage
After lean times of late those without pay tv finally get some top golf to watch this week with the Bridgestone Invitational broadcast live in Australia on ONE HD on the Ten Network.
The coverage begins Friday 4am to 8am.
2nd Round: Saturday, 4am – 8am; 3rd Round: Sunday, 2am – 3.30am; 4am – 8am; Final Round, Monday, 2am – 3.30am; 4am – 8am
2012 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational Leaderboard2012 WGC Bridgestone Invitational Leaderboard