Sydney, November 16: Australian Adam Scott says his last-hole bogey to lose the Emirates Australian Open in 2013 still rankles with him as he prepares to win the national title again.
The tournament tees-off tomorrow at Royal Sydney Golf Club and, jointly sanctioned with the PGA Tour of Australasia, is the final event of the season on OneAsia.
World number five Jordan Spieth from the United States is also competing. He won this event in 2014 – acting as a springboard to his 2015 season when he claimed two Majors.
Scott was aiming for a hat-trick of Australian wins that week and he led the tournament throughout after an opening 62, but he was reeled in by Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy on the famous last hole -- McIlroy rolling in a birdie from five metres while Scott's approach skated off the green and he made bogey for a two-shot swing.
"I'd like to get a win here at Royal Sydney after what happened a few years ago,'' the Australian said today.
"That burns a little bit. Also to win the Aussie Open is special, it would kind of cap off a good year and also make it that bit better if
you've got another win.''
Scott remembers it all too well. There were maybe 10,000 people lining the fairways that afternoon as two of the world's best came together, a tournament promoter's dream. Under the blowtorch, Scott erred.
"The 18th hole stands out,'' he said. "I made an error on the last hole when I couldn't afford to. It's just the way the game goes. If I'd hit a pretty average shot to the front of the green and two-putted, Rory probably doesn't make his putt and I win the tournament. I slightly pushed the eight iron, misjudged the wind, it goes over the green into a tough spot and I make a five.
"The door's open for Rory and being such a great player, you have to take those breaks when they're given to you. He knocks it in.
It was a shame because I'd had such a great run but maybe a good motivator for me this week to get out and try to do it all again.''
Scott had a fine 2016, but has not won since early in the year at the Cadillac Championship. The wins did not come, he said, because his short game was not sharp enough, which is one of the reasons why he flew down to Sydney last week to reacquaint himself with Royal Sydney's multi-tiered greens. He has Steve Williams on the bag to indicate how serious he is about the week at a tournament he previously won at New South Wales in 2009.
"You don't need much more motivation than playing for the Australian Open trophy,'' he said. "That's a big one for any Aussie. Even after all these years of playing all around the world, coming back and playing here is a big motivator.''