Adam Scott admits long game isn’t good enough ahead of Honda Classic return

The Aussie is a former winner at PGA National but says he’s struggling to find his best golf ahead of this week’s PGA TOUR event in Florida

The Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has been a happy hunting ground for Adam Scott.

The Aussie has teed it up at the Honda Classic's host course on six occasions. He cracked the top 15 in 2014, 2017 and 2018 but the standout moment came in 2016.

Scott arrived on the back of a second place in the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Confidence was high and he showed it with rounds of 70-65-66-70 to shoot 271 and score a one-shot victory over Sergio Garcia.

On a high after securing his 12th PGA Tour win, Scott then added a 13th a week later, walking off with the trophy after capturing the prestigious WGC-Cadillac Championship.

That hot stretch took the 2013 Masters champion up to sixth in the world rankings.

He returns as the World No.25: it's hardly a crisis but the gradual fall has been frustrating. And ahead of the 2021 Honda Classic, Scott admits his game isn't where he wants it to be.

It's a warning for those wanting to back him: Scott is 25/1 with Paddy Power.

Then again, many punters will still see that as a decent price in a field seriously weaker than we've seen in the previous three events on the Florida Swing.

Scott participated in two of those tournaments and played all eight rounds. But tied 54th in the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession and tied 48th in THE PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass fell short of expectations.

So, what's up Adam? Should we expect it all to click anytime soon? The 40-year-old gave his thoughts ahead of the tournament.

On where his game is

"It's not really where I want it, to be honest, but it's always nice returning to places you've had success. This is a very demanding golf course, so it's going to certainly test every aspect of my game, certainly. I'm not quite on top of my long game at the moment, and it's a bit of a work in progress, but playing today (Tuesday practice round) it was a little bit better than it was Sunday at TPC, so hopefully it's moving in the right direction."

On whether he likes playing difficult courses such as PGA National

"Generally, yes, I do. I think the challenge from tee to green certainly here separates the ball-striking for the week, which at times for my career has been a strength for me. I think it gives me a little edge on the field. But I certainly can't say that coming into this week. Anyone could look at my stats and see that's not really my strong suit right now. But it's one of those kind of courses where it can go two ways out here. You can get in a rhythm and play the course well and you survive, or you can capitulate out there.

"It's really demanding and usually windy and with water, especially around the Bear Trap (Holes 15-17). We all know about those holes. It's got me several times. You kind of have to take it for what it is and do the best you can and try and get on that survival mode for a couple days at least."

On the perils of hitting it in the water at Florida courses

"You can survive hitting it in the water once or maybe twice for a tournament, but I think I hit it in about seven or eight times last week at TPC and I didn't win. I think it's one of those things, when you're playing good, you can bounce back from one trip to the water. I think after the experience of playing these Florida golf courses for 20 years, it's inevitable you're going to hit one in the water, especially around here when it's windy. You're going to have to accept it and do the best you can to get past that hole and rebuild."

On how wind adds to the challenge at this week's course, PGA National

"It's a difficult course anyway. As soon as you put water in front of greens or the side of greens and there's nowhere else to go but the green, it's a difficult course. But then you throw wind in there, that's a variable that even for the best players is very hard to control sometimes your golf ball. You're hitting it out there 160, 200 yards away from you and hoping the wind does what you think it's going to do. That's hard when the penalty is water and you're reaching into the bag to drop another one.

"The wind makes this course extremely difficult. If there's a change in wind and you haven't experienced that wind before on the golf course or even that week, it can change how the course plays drastically. You can go from hitting a driver off a tee to the next day hitting a 3-iron, and those kind of adjustments, if you can make them comfortably in your head, are a huge advantage when that happens.

"The guy who is comfortable with the change is going to do well, and the guy who isn't is going to really struggle, especially at a difficult track like this."

On which parts of his game are sharp right now

"My short game is fantastic at the moment. I mean, for sure the best consistently it's ever been, which is fortunate, otherwise I'd be selling hot dogs, not playing golf if I didn't have one.

"But I'm not really where I want to be with my long game. I can sit here and bore you with details why, but it's just the fact is it's just not good enough. In the big picture of things with Augusta in mind, I think if I can make some progress this week, I've got two weeks of practice which I really, really need to be ready for Augusta, and I still believe I can be.

Scott won The Masters in 2013
Scott won The Masters in 2013

"With the golf swing and ball-striking being kind of the strength of my game for my entire career, I believe it can come back fairly quickly with a little bit of work on the range the next few weeks."

Adam Scott is 60/1 at bet365 to win The Masters

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