AUGUSTA, Ga. — Adam Scott has worked out all the bugs for his return to Augusta – both on the course and for the Champions Dinner.
Determined to etch his place in history as only the fourth repeat winner in Masters Tournament history, the proud Australian was equally determined to impress his new peers with his dinner menu Tuesday night.
It started with a helping of Moreton Bay Bugs.
“The bugs are here,” Scott said of the only part of the main course he’d reveal in advance of his Australian surf and turf “on the barbie” menu.
“They are legitimate bugs, the real deal,” he said. “I’m not going to serve up anything second rate tonight. I’ve got to go all out to impress these guys.”
Scott had the bugs flown in from Brisbane, the capital city in his home state of Queensland. Moreton Bay is the harbor where the Brisbane River flows into the ocean, and the bugs are a term for the slipper lobsters that are a local delicacy.
“Hopefully the other guys can get past the name and enjoy a nice bit of our seafood from home,” he said. “But I think they are going to be pretty happy with what I serve up tonight, and particularly the wine.”
Scott — who also served his mother’s Pavlova for dessert — didn’t want to do anything cliched, avoiding kangaroo, crocodile or vegemite on toast.
“I would love to have served some meat pies at the cocktail hour, but it couldn’t be arranged,” he said. “Next time, if I get another chance to do it, I’d love to serve some meat pies.”
That next time is the primary focus of Scott’s week. After enjoying a year of world travels with his green jacket, he is reluctant to leave it at the end of the week in his champions locker, which he shares with the stacks of mail that Gary Player receives.
“It’s something I’ve really been looking forward to, but as the last week came by, I also realized it would be time for me to bring the green jacket back and leave it here maybe,” Scott said. “So that motivated me to work harder that last week at home and try and get myself into some kind of form that can maybe go back to back and keep the jacket for another year.”
The list of repeat winners at Augusta is brief but illustrious — Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02).
“I don’t know if there are answers to why only a couple guys have managed to repeat their performance,” Scott said. “It’s just one of those things. I certainly don’t think any of the responsibilities are so draining that it’s going to cost you having a good week out on the golf course. It’s just one of those things. In time, I’m sure, more and more guys will, but at the moment it’s only a couple. But I’d like to add my name to that list this week.”
Without Woods in the field after back surgery, Scott takes over as the highest-ranked player in the field. He could also take over Woods’ No. 1 ranking in the world with at least a two-way tie for third.
Scott is quick to point out that doesn’t make him the new primary target.
“From my own experience, I’m at the highest level I’ve ever been at, and I’m not dominant at all in respect to where Tiger dominated the game for so long,” he said. “So to get to that level is remarkable, and it’s good that people can appreciate that dominance and like to see it.
“I think in the past, certainly that’s been easy to go to events and look at a guy who is the guy to beat. I think that scope has kind of broadened now. There’s a lot of guys with the talent and the form that aren’t necessarily standing out above others, but on their week, they are going to be tough to beat. … That’s how I see it this week. I’d like to think my name is one of those guys, and I feel like I’m going to be one of the guys who has got a chance if I play well this week.”
The absence of Woods doesn’t diminish the event in Scott’s eyes.
“As every year here, this event produces something special no matter what,” Scott said. “It just has a way of doing it, and it’s not going to involve Tiger this year, but it will involve someone else and it will be a memorable event anyway.”
So far, Scott’s return experience has been everything he expected. He played the course twice with his father, Phil, on Friday and Sunday.
“I always felt like there would be things in the future that would be so great about coming back here for the rest of my life, and again, playing with my dad before the Masters is one of those great things that winning this tournament has afforded me,” Scott said.
“It was great fun and a dream come true for me, too,” his father said. “It really did make me realize how good these guys are because it can make a fool of you. It did me pretty easily.”
Phil Scott five-putted the first green and took 41 putts in his opening round. But he did par his way through Amen Corner twice and got to try the putts his son made on the 18th and 10th greens to win the green jacket.
Scott has embraced every Masters tradition and tried to have fun with it. His father was asked what kind of traditions the family was creating in Augusta.
“We’re developing this tradition, hopefully now, that he wins,” Phil Scott said.