Adam Scott’s dramatic playoff victory over Angel Cabrera at the Masters in April secured his position as the leader of the dark-horse International team in this week’s Presidents Cup matches at Muirfield Village.
The first Australian to win at Augusta, Scott added a triumph at The Barclays to his Player of the Year-contending 2013 season. Since capturing his first major and enjoying the most successful campaign of his tour career, Scott has comfortably assumed the role of quasi-pilot of golf’s top 12 non-Europeans hoping to pull a Ryder Cup-like upset and wrest the cup from the U.S. for only the second time in the event’s 19-year history.
If they fail to do so, Scott, who will suit up for his sixth cup event, worries about the long-term viability of the competition in which the Americans are 7-1-1.
"The Internationals need to step up and win the thing and make it a real competition," he said.
On paper, Scott’s quest would appear to be rather quixotic, with a roster that features Jason Day, a player who continues to ooze that mystical "upside" but, with a single career tour win, has yet to achieve his potential; Ernie Els, who stole the 2012 Open Championship from the ever-loosening grasp of a melting down Scott but has almost as many missed cuts (five) as six top 20s (six) this year; and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen, who has battled injuries much of the season.
Scott, who looks to better his 10-13-2 record in five PC matches, was the likely runner-up to Tiger Woods in PoY balloting (though we’ll never know since the tour does not disclose, well, much of anything, let alone player-award vote counts), thanks to his Masters breakthrough. He was also consistently in the running for three of the four majors this season, finishing T3 and T5 at the British Open and PGA Championship, respectively.
When the 33-year-old with the broomstick putter came from behind to capture the first leg of the FedExCup series at Liberty National, he surged to the fore in Player of the Year polling. A win in any of the remaining three playoff games would likely have earned him the award.
While Woods, with his major-less, five-win season, walked away with a record 11th trophy as the tour’s best gamer, Scott finished his most successful campaign with six top-10 closes, fourth in FEC points, and sixth on the money list.
Now, if only the Aussie can inspire his teammates to an improbable victory Sunday at Muirfield Village, his year will be complete.
"I'm getting tired of getting killed out there," said Scott. "This is a big year for us. It's our time."
World Ranking: 2
Qualified: Automatic spot No. 1 of 10
Presidents Cup Match Play Record: 10-13-2 (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011)