By Brian O’Hare
IT was a tale of two golfers at the opposite end of the form spectrum at Royal Sydney on Wednesday ahead of the 2013 Emirates Australian Open.
Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy played the Pro-am in the morning – both attracting big galleries but the Aussie edging the Northern Irishman numbers-wise – and then they fronted the media.
While Scott was still basking in the continued glow of his US Masters victory and shooting for an Aussie Triple Crown, McIlroy hasn’t won in more than a year.
Asked how many Majors wins Scott currently had in his sights, the 36 year old had a simple answer: “Two,” he said adamantly.
Similarly, McIlroy knows exactly when he wants to win next: “The sooner the better,” he said.
For both, playing as well as they possibly can this week is what is really in their sights.
“It’s the Australian Open; it’s the last week of the year for me, I want to finish big,” said Scott.
Responding to questions, Scott said he had run into Robert Allenby – the only player to so far win the season Triple Crown – overnight but hadn’t been offered any advice.
“I’m left to my own devices this week, Scott said, after earlier commenting he “would leave the sledging to the cricketers.”
Nor had he thought too much about how highly the season Triple Crown would rank in his career.
“I don’t know because I haven’t really thought about it that much because it hasn’t happened and I probably wouldn’t give it much thought until it does,” he said. “It’s something that only one person has ever done in Australia. It’s not something that happens very often. I’d have to think it’s a pretty great milestone for an Australian golfer to win all three events down here. What Robert was able to do was remarkable. Greg Chalmers had a shot at it a couple of years ago. I’ll be giving it my best and hopefully you can ask me Sunday night and I can tell you where I reckon it ranks.”
His famous Green Jacket hasn’t had an outing in Sydney as of yet but is expected to make a couple of appearances.
“It’s stayed in the room so far, but I’m pretty sure it’ll make a trip out here to the course at least one of the days,” Scott said.
[quote]Adam Scott: “I’ve got a pretty good sense of feeling how excited everyone was back in April when I won the Masters. That’s an incredible feeling for me to come home and kind of see how much everyone supports us when we’re away all year. It’s a very nice feeling to come home to that.”[/quote]
Unfortunately for McIlroy, all the talk wasn’t about Green Jackets and winning Majors – or any wins so far in 2013 – but about what had happened to his swing, how he had lost confidence, and how it was all getting back on track.
“I feel like the last couple of events have been much better; a couple of solid performances, China, Dubai, Korea as well,” McIlroy said. “I feel like my game is in good shape. It’s probably the best it’s been all year, which is nice.
“I’ve said for the last couple of months I just wanted to try and finish this season strongly and get some momentum to go in 2014. This would be the perfect place to get that first win of the year and give me a sort of springboard into the next season.”
McIlroy agreed with Scott there was a “buzz” around Australian golf at present.
“I think it’s a great time for Australian golf,” he said. “You’ve got your first Aussie winning the Masters this year. Obviously Adam’s been playing very, very well for a couple of years now and obviously climbed up to two in the world; Jason coming off his win and Australia winning the World Cup last week, so it’s exciting times for Australian golf. I think the fans want to come out and watch that.”