World number one Adam Scott is looking to emulate Greg Norman and only three other Australians that lifted the Open Championship, following near misses over the last two years.
Third time lucky
Scott suffered heartbreak two years ago at Royal Lytham, when he practically handed Ernie Els his second Open Championship by shooting four bogey's over the closing four holes, while last year at Muirfield, he finished tied for third alongside Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, behind Henrik Stenson and eventual winner Phil Mickleson.
Many expected the Australian to suffer somewhat mentally following his 2012 capitulation, however Scott managed to bounce back barely a year later with a play-off victory over Angel Cabrera at the Augusta National, to lift his first Major Championship at the US Masters.
A further three professional wins and some consistent top-10 finishes have elevated the talented South Australian to the top of the mens game, however he feels only a win this weekend at Hoylake will underline his credentials as the world number one ranked player.
“Of course, you want to emulate what your childhood hero has done, and Greg winning The Open, it’s always sat very high with me. And watching Baker-Finch win it, as well, in the fashion he did, was pretty spectacular,” Scott told the world's media.
“It’s got a huge amount of meaning to me. I think it does to all the golfers. And Phil Mickelson, I really liked what he said, he felt like a complete golfer after he’d won this, because it’s such a different test and examination of your game.
“The conditions are so different than we usually play. And the shots you need to hit at some point, you have to hit something pretty creative that wouldn’t work anywhere else.
“I think I’m playing some of the best golf of my life at the moment, so I should really be taking advantage of it and stepping up this week and putting myself in with a good chance. I don’t know how long that’s going to last. So I’ve got to try and take advantage of that and win all the events that I’d really love to win, and this is certainly one of them."
Last time out at Hoylake in 2006, Scott finished a very credible eighth on a course that was extremely dry and hard due to the drought conditions experienced that year, a different beast to what they will tackle this year according the the player.
"We've got a completely different golf course that we're looking at this week," said Scott.
"It's a completely different animal.
"I think the one thing we're all looking at is taking advantage of the par-fives," he added, conforming to the same plans laid out by Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose earlier in the day.
"If you're swinging well and you can get a driver on the fairway down the par-fives, they are almost par-fours."
Ranking at stake
Scott will be aware that potentially four players could overhaul him at the top of the rankings this week at Royal Liverpool, all of whom will be a threat this week alongside the returning Tiger Woods.
Henrik Stenson would have the easiest path. The Swede needs to win the claret jug and have Scott finish outside the top three, and Stenson can also claim the top spot with a solo second-place finish if Scott finishes outside the top 18.
Justin Rose is the form player and arrives off the back of two successive wins. Rose would seal his place at the the top with a win and Scott finishing outside of the top six.
Bubba Watson could overhaul Scott if he wins and the Aussie finishes outside of the top 15.
And finally, compatriot Jason Day will displace his friend if he registers his first Major victory and Scott ends up 22 or worse.
Scott capitulates in 2012
Scott will also be wary of the returning Tiger Woods, the man he displaced as the world number one.
Despite only playing two competitive rounds over the last four months after undergoing back surgery, the 14-times Major champion tasted success the last time out at Royal Liverpool in 2006, one of his most emotional Major wins following the death of his father.
Woods will without question harness that emotion in his attempt to win his first Major Championship since the 2008 US Open.
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