PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Quiet and orderly, just the way he prefers it, at least until he got to every green to begin his walk to the next tee. There, Adam Scott was greeted by commotion, hands thrusting toward him with programs, beach balls, flags – anything – for him to sign.
At that point, his practice round regimen was in danger and Scott – trying for a gentle re-entry into the PGA Tour atmosphere from his Masters euphoria – was forced into action. No shock, given the regal nature that defines him, but the Aussie did so with a decorum to be admired. He smiled and made eye contact, then acknowledged the fans’ presence with a simple request: Allow him to play his late-afternoon practice holes, then meet him at 18 for autographs.
“And he signed for them all,” said Justin Cohen, Scott’s manager.
But if the fans were pleased to have their mementos, they were no more so than Scott, who had the civility that he craves. Nearly a month removed from his Masters victory, Scott has pulled off something perhaps as remarkable as his playoff triumph at Augusta National.
In this day and age of 24/7 internet, round-the-clock talk and scream shows, and a Twitter world where athletes feel compelled to tell you how many sports cars they have and what their views are on the issues of the day, Scott has remained true to who he is.
No Tweets, no noise, no fuss.
Scott handled some business in New York right after his April 14 Masters victory, then took his green jacket and his clubs to his place in the Bahamas – though, truthfully, he might not have needed the clubs.
“Put the clubs away for a little while,” Scott said, acknowledging that he does that after every major championship. This time, however, “I left (them away) another week, which felt good, and I managed to just have no agenda for that week and enjoy myself and do nothing for a few days. It was nice.”
One could argue that it was well deserved, given that Scott, at 32, had chased years of major championships to no avail, and surely had had to learn to cope with the heartache. That the disappointment came to a stunning end in extra holes against a friend, Angel Cabrera, is something Scott still can’t explain. Yes, “I thought about winning before the final round started (April 14),” Scott said, “but as the day wore on, I didn’t picture it.”
Nothing was falling for Scott that Sunday, but somehow, par after par after par after par – nine of them starting at the third – kept the Aussie in contention. Birdies at 13 and 15 sweetened his position, then he snaked in another at the 72nd green to get into the lead. Though Cabrera came in minutes later to birdie and tie, Scott, in falling darkness on the second extra hole, dropped a birdie putt and a green jacket was draped over his shoulders.
Not that he forgets the accomplishment, “but when I walk in the closet and I put the green jacket on every morning,” he laughingly said it is a reminder.
Though there were dozens of offers to remind the world what he had done, to share his Masters triumph with late-night hosts and talk-show personalities and radio voices, Scott respectfully declined. He is not about the “dog and pony show,” as Cohen explained, and with a quiet smile, the agent added: “We are sticking to our plan.”
For the last few years, Scott has worked out a routine of golf tournaments, travel, practice regimens and holiday breaks, and now has what he believes is the perfect schedule for his competitive needs. So as much as he wanted to fly home to Australia post-Masters to visit his mother, Pam, and his sister, Casie, and accept the accolades as his nation’s first winner of the green jacket, Scott fought the temptation.
“I talked this one over with the people that are around me and we’re in the middle of the year and, yes, it’s cause for celebration, but we have a plan in place,” Scott said. “Hopefully it’s not going to stop with the Masters at the moment.”
That Scott chose to retreat to the Bahamas where he could relax and savor his accomplishment was no surprise to Cohen. He helped manage Scott’s business affairs several years ago, stepped away, but came back on board last season. His respect for his fellow Aussie is genuine, but Cohen also has a keen feel for what makes world-class athletes gel, having managed Lleyton Hewitt when the Aussie was the No. 1 tennis player in the world and the winner of the 2001 U.S. Open and 2002 Wimbledon. Doing the post-Masters media blitz was not Scott’s style and Cohen respects the player for sticking to his character.
Here at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, where Scott in 2004 won his second PGA Tour tournament, he is signing Masters flags, accepting Masters praise, hearing Masters shouts.
But he insists he’s moved on. His vision of who he is is not blinded by a green jacket.