Whether Tiger Woods’ nearly six-year "dry spell" at the majors continues in 2014 or not, Adam Scott claimed that the world No. 1 was of no particular concern to him as he prepared to defend his Masters title in April.
In fact, Scott, the first Australian to win at Augusta when he captured his first grand slam title last year, claimed that his peers were "not worried" about Woods keeping them from grabbing their share of major crowns.
"I just feel like the way it's been shared around a little bit lately, you have seen my generation of player, the Justin Roses who have got to that level where they have put 10 or 12 years' experience in the bank. They have raised the level of their own games over the last couple years and believe it's their time to do it," Scott said during a pre-Masters conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
Five victories in 2013 was tops on the PGA Tour and won Woods a record 11th Player of the Year award, but Tiger last triumphed at a major in 2008. Indeed, since Y. E. Yang stunned him at the 2009 PGA Championship, the mystical aura that Woods seemingly enveloped his competitors with has evaporated into the mist like so much deer antler spray.
Scott declined to rule Woods out of the running for major championships but stopped just short of throwing down the gauntlet.
"I don't think he's become less of a factor. I think he's still obviously a favorite in everyone's mind, including the players, that he's going to be around the mix," Scott said. "They are not worried about Tiger Woods, or Phil Mickelson, or a young guy like Rory McIlroy. They are just into their own thing."
During Tiger’s prime, those were fighting words that Woods tacked to his own personal bulletin board and would eventually make the speakers of such blasphemies pay for uttering (see: Stephen Ames). But those days are no more.
"I don't necessarily think it's that Tiger is not a factor. He certainly is a factor. He's the No. 1 player in the world, and he's always there or thereabouts. He's on a dry spell at the moment and that's what happens in a career," added Scott. "Jack Nicklaus had a run like that and he's still the greatest player of all time. It wouldn't surprise me that Tiger comes and wins again this year, but I think there's my generation of player is feeling like their time is now, so they have got to take advantage of it."
Scott, No. 2 in the rankings and within chipping distance of Woods’ top spot, has for some time emulated Tiger’s limited playing schedule and will tee it up for the first time in six weeks at next week’s Honda Classic. He, like Woods, will kick off his Masters tune-up at PGA National.
"I think the break was necessary, even though I was playing well before that," said Scott, who finished T6 and T8 in Hawaii and came up one win shy of capturing the Australian triple crown at the end of 2013. "My priority is the Masters and the other three majors. It's always a balancing act. The last couple of years I've balanced it really well."