Adam Scott is that sporting rarity: the quiet Australian.

In a country whose stars need no encouragement to broadcast their achievements, the world’s best golfer has always followed his father’s advice: “Let your clubs do the talking.” And Scott particularly likes to be under the radar before Majors.

But now, as I meet the world No1 at Hoylake, where The Open starts on Thursday, he is not shy to talk about his aims.

Gazing at the 18th, he says: “The plan is to win on Sunday. The last two years I felt I’ve had one hand on the Claret Jug as I played the back nine. I’d like to finish it off this year and end up with both hands on it.”

The best of those chances came at Royal Lytham & St Annes two years ago when he was four ahead with four to play. But a bogey on each of his remaining holes saw him throw away the title, gifting it to Ernie Els by one stroke.

Such disasters can scar even great players, as they did Scott’s hero Greg Norman after a similar collapse in the 1996 Masters. But, whatever pain Scott still feels about Royal Lytham, he is determined not to show it.

“That final 45 minutes was incredible,” he says, as if analysing an event that happened to somebody else. “It shows how easily it can get away from you without you doing much wrong. But I have some very fond memories of 2012. It was some of the best golf I’ve ever played, certainly some of my best driving.

“I dominated that golf course and, this week, I want to replicate so many of the things I did then.”

He would certainly like to replicate the form which saw him win the Masters, just 10 months later. Speaking in the sort of confident tone we expect from Shane Warne, he says of his Open chances: “I am well prepared for a late Sunday afternoon this week. I can’t miss out forever. My time really is now.”

But then suddenly sounding anxious, he adds: “I need to make it happen. Because I don’t know how long this window will stay open. I have to go and get it or I will be too old one day.”

This lament betrays a fact that the 33-year-old is part of the golf generation that came of age just as Tiger Woods emerged.

“I turned pro in 2000 just as Tiger was starting his dominance and witnessed this remarkable golf for so long. It was amazing. He had everyone covered. He was intimidating. And he put a halt to my golf in my 20s, certainly in the Majors.”

Woods, now 38, is still around. But this is a very different Woods. He has not won a Major for six years and will tee off at Hoylake having only recently ended a three-month lay-off due to back surgery.

And while Scott is respectful of one of the game’s greatest players, he does say: “He is a little older and, obviously, has had some injury problems. The scare factor about Tiger is much less.

“The younger guys in their 20s didn’t grow up seeing Tiger play this incredible golf, right in front of their faces. They are less fearful of him. And a bunch of guys like myself, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia are of a similar age who feel that now is absolutely our time to make up for what Tiger did to us.”

So keen is Scott to make up for those lost years that he missed the US Open, taking a break in the middle of the year for the first time in his career.

“I felt I needed it. It gave me a chance to come to Europe a month earlier. I did not play the Scottish Open but I was in Hoylake all last week playing the course and figuring out all the little nuances.”

Scott’s preparation reflects how keen he is to receive the Claret Jug. His pride in becoming the first Australian to win the Masters is immense but he knows that a triumph at The Open would take him to a different plane. “It is an amazing event. It has so many unique qualities, the history and everything. It would be incredible feeling to win it.

“As Phil Mickelson said last year, he felt a complete player when he won The Open.”

And, just to make sure Scott has all he needs to emulate Mickelson, the man carrying his bag again this week is Steve Williams, Woods’s long-standing caddy until he was sacked by the American in 2011. Scott laughs when I say this must mean that he knows all Tiger’s secrets.

“Steve is a great caddy. No doubt he was a big part of Tiger’s success. His course management is very good, very experienced.”

Williams was with Woods when he won at Hoylake eight years ago. Then Scott came seventh but he quickly dismisses any idea 2014 could be like 2006. “Then it was a very dry, hot summer. The course was very fiery and presented a challenge and there was one guy [a reference to Woods] who was very smart that week, didn’t hit a driver and he won.

“It is very different this year. It is so lush, green and in perfect condition. I think there will be an opportunity to use the driver, which is good for me because that is the strength of my game. Hopefully, I can take advantage of some of the par fives by hitting drives and making some birdies. Because, even though it is a tough challenge, you will have to make some birdies to win this Open. But obviously, like most of these links courses, you have to avoid those pot bunkers off the tee.”

And, as long as he does, it would not matter to Scott how he won. “I’d love to do what Martin Kaymer did in the US Open, winning by eight, playing exceptionally and blowing the field away. In the 2013 Masters, when I went to a play-off, it was a ding-dong, not beautiful but a hard fight. Still, there is a lot of satisfaction out of that as well. I am firmly focused on what I’ve got to do on this course.”

The bookies make him a 16-1 shot — third behind Rose and Rory McIlroy. “Go and have a bet on that,” Scott says. “The chances of getting good odds on me are less and less.

“I intend to stay No1 as long as I can and winning events is the only way I am going to stay there. Winning the biggest ones would be great. So take advantage of those odds.”

With that he smiles and marches towards the putting green.


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