Adam Scott and the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Adam Scott

I’ve now been playing golf for about three and a half or four years. I’ve learned a lot about golf in that time. If you want to get good enough to go out on Saturdays and Sundays and play with your friends, it takes a little bit of practice and some dedication, but almost anybody can hit this level of proficiency with full time and effort. On the other hand, if you want to be great at golf, you have to understand that the game is extremely difficult and challenging. You can hit a perfect 150-yard shot that lands just to the right of a mound and careens into the water. You can have that exact same shot and it lands a foot to the left, the ball snuggles up nicely right next to the hole. That is golf. The difference between hitting a great shot and an okay shot is not much.

This brings me to Adam Scott. Adam Scott is one of those golfers that almost everyone likes. He has a picture-perfect swing. He seems to be a nice guy. He seems to work hard. A couple of years ago, Adam Scott was closing in on his first British Open when he had an epic meltdown. In golf, there are no teammates to point to. It is just you and your golf ball. The clubs probably aren’t the problem, since they are the exact same clubs you are using as when you started the round. Last year, at the Masters, everybody was waiting for Adam Scott to have another meltdown. It didn’t happen. He played flawlessly down the stretch. He was rewarded with his first green jacket.

Before the Arnold Palmer Invitational, perennial favorite Tiger Woods pulled out because of back issues. This left the field wide open. Adam Scott shot a 62 and tied the course record on Thursday. On Friday, he continued to play extremely well. He was driving well. He was hitting fabulous iron shots and putting very well. At some point on Thursday or Friday, Adam Scott was leading this tournament by seven or eight strokes. On Saturday, things didn’t go so well. His iron shots were not as crisp and he wasn’t hitting them as close to the hole. His putter had completely failed him. The smooth silky stroke that he had just 48 hours earlier was completely gone. On Sunday, Adam Scott’s game just simply fell apart. He shot four over par. Had he shot even par he would’ve won the tournament.

Matt Every, a guy that most of us of never heard of, won the tournament. He was as shocked and amazed as we all were. Keegan Bradley was poised to make a move but faltered early. He got his game back together on the back nine in order to make a significant charge. Now, he is very fun to watch. He loves to play.

Golf is hard. Playing golf at this level is extremely hard. The difference between winning and being tied for 20th is extremely small. Adam Scott is a great golfer, yet we’ve seen over and over that sometimes he just can’t close the deal. On 16, today, while trailing by two strokes, he hit a beautiful 6-iron to within 20 feet of the hole. He had a 20-foot putt for eagle. The putt is difficult but, if you’re going to win, if you’re going to win consistently, this is a putt that you have to drain. His 20-foot putt slid by the hole, leaving him an uphill putt of some six to seven feet for birdie. He simply pushed the putt to the left, ending up with a three-putt par. This is golf. This doesn’t make Adam Scott a bad guy. This doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have the killer instinct. It does mean that folks who win a lot, like Tiger Woods, are very, very special. Tiger Woods had (has???) an ability to reach down deep and pull out miraculous shots and fabulous putting performances at will. Not many people can do that.

Patrick Reed

Let me just say one thing about Patrick Reed. Last week, 23-year-old Patrick Reed won Doral and after his victory he said, “I’ve worked so hard, I’ve won a lot in my junior career, did great things in (my) amateur career, was 6-0 in match play in NCAAs, won NCAAs two years in a row, got third individually one year, and now I have three wins out here on the PGA Tour. I just don’t see a lot of guys that have done that, besides Tiger Woods, of course, and, you know, the other legends of the game. It’s just one of those things, I believe in myself and – especially with how hard I’ve worked – I’m one of the top five players in the world. To come out in a field like this and to hold on wire to wire like that, I feel like I’ve proven myself.” I’m sorry, but you have to learn how to be humble if you’re going to take home a check of a half a million dollars or more. If you want people to hate you, talk like this. If you want people to love you, sit down and watch how Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson or Rory McElroy handles the media. They are masters at a very humble and happy to be here. It would be different if Patrick Reed were playing a different sport. He’s not. He’s playing golf. There are tons of vagaries in golf. The fact that he has worked hard means nothing. Keegan Bradley’s worked hard. Henrik Stenson, who was one of the top 10 players in the world, fell out of the top 200. Wasn’t he working hard? I wish nothing but the best for Patrick Reed, but he has to learn a little humility. He’s playing a sport that he should be able to play for another 20-30 years and should be able to make a lot of money. He needs to be grateful. I’m just saying.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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