- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 8, 2012

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - Adam Scott’s tee shot on the 12th hole at the Ocean Course sailed down the middle of the fairway, and he started walking toward his ball alongside his playing partner _ Ernie Els.

So much for forgetting about that British Open.

Less than a month after gifting Els a major championship with a late collapse at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Scott practiced with him Wednesday, a day before the start of the PGA Championship. The 32-year-old Scott is hoping for a better finish at Kiawah Island, but he isn’t hiding from his British Open failure.

After giving away a four-shot lead with bogeys on the last four holes _ and helping Els win the tournament _ Scott is confident in his ability to hold on this week if he ends up in a similar spot.

“If I was in that position again, I’d feel like I’m playing pretty good, so at that point, I’d be quite confident,” Scott said. “I’ve generally been a good closer of golf tournaments in my career. If I was in that position, I’d like to turn it around this time and close the golf tournament out.”

Els sounded almost guilty after benefiting from Scott’s slide. He tried to be encouraging afterward _ still is, actually.

“I’ve known Adam since he’s come out here 10 years ago, and we have got a pretty good, close relationship,” Els said. “He’s a good friend of the family and of mine. If he needs any help to win a major, I’ll definitely give it to him. If he needs any encouragement, I’ll give it to him.”

As for Scott, he feels bad that his troubles took some of the joy out of Els‘ victory.

“It was kind of a shame, because he should have been so happy and he felt a little sorry for me, and that’s not the way you want to win, ” Scott said. “We have spoken a couple times since, but not really about anything specific. Just being the friend he is, he just was concerned about how I was doing. I assured him that I’m doing fine and ready to get on with it.”

Scott’s next tournament was at Firestone last weekend. He finished tied for 45th.

No matter. He says it was a bit therapeutic to be on the course playing again.

“I think probably it took last week, getting back out and playing, to kind of shake it off fully,” Scott said. “I was ready to play last week, and didn’t play that well and lost my rhythm slightly throughout the round with my swing. But I think now, I’ve got one out of the system.”

Still seeking his first major championship, Scott has been impressive this year, finishing tied for eighth at the Masters and tied for 15th at the U.S. Open.

His British Open looked like another step forward until his string of bogeys that culminated in a 7-foot putt he missed on No. 18 that could have forced a playoff.

“I played maybe the best golf of my career for the whole week, really,” Scott said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get a win. But even with the last four holes, taking it as a whole, I played spectacular golf for such a long period of time in a major championship.”

It just didn’t last for all 72 holes.

Scott isn’t the only player to let a major slip away recently. At last year’s PGA Championship, Keegan Bradley was five shots behind with three holes to play. Jason Dufner made three straight bogeys, and Bradley beat him in a playoff.

“We’ve had some great closers in that past in (Phil) Mickelson and (Tiger) Woods _ I’m talking about my generation of players,” Els said. “I think guys are maybe learning how to win still, and you know, it’s a cruel way of learning. But they are basically learning.”

Scott isn’t exactly a rookie, which made last month’s messy ending all the more intriguing. He doesn’t mind talking about it, but he doesn’t need to see it again.

“I haven’t watched the tape,” he said. “Not because it was too painful, but because I pretty much know what happened out there. I can re-live it quite clearly.”