Adam Scott Deserves More Credit

Adam Scott has shown resilience that some of the best athletes in the world could be learning from. Lebron James, here’s looking at you.

He isn’t getting enough credit for it.

Caught in a teenage love triangle straight out of Dawson’s Creek, Adam Scott blew the field away last weekend as he won the Bridgestone Invitational by 4 strokes.

Adam Scott has found himself in the middle of a messy break up. Tiger Woods thought his caddy cheated on him but Steve Williams doesn’t understand. He thought they were on a break. In a previous relationship where it is now obvious that neither partner is emotionally stable, Scott has remained even keel. It’s not often that a player, who is performing at such a high level, is overshadowed by a relationship between a caddy and his ex.

If TV dramas have taught us anything, it’s hard enough keeping your cool in the midst of a complicated love triangle. Imagine trying to professional golf on top of that.

Adam Scott, a career underachiever, has had enough trouble throughout his time on the tour dealing with the expectations placed on him. Typically, another Tiger Woods era “next one” has not lived up to the hype. You would have never guessed that from the way he has played his last 6 rounds.

Playing with the burden of a big-headed caddy, whose dreams of revenge on his ex-partner were placed squarely on his shoulders, Adam Scott has stepped up his game in a manner expected from only the greatest athletes in the world.

For a player who had only had 7 career PGA tour wins prior to last week’s victory at Bridgestone, it was unbelievable to see him come up with a win at a tournament where his caddy must have brought some lofty expectations along with him.

Scott was and is still playing for two people. That can’t be easy.

In a sport where choking is as common as the cold, Adam Scott has handled the intense pressure and media scrutiny like a young Tiger Woods.

As I sit here and write this, Adam Scott is tied for 3rd place at the 2011 PGA championship. He sits at 4 under par through 11 holes, only 2 shots behind Steve Stricker. To compete and win his caddy’s tournament of redemption is one thing but to continue to compete and stay in contention the following week at a major championship is something else.

Clearly, Adam Scott hasn’t had enough pressure placed on him during his career because as of this moment he is thriving with all the added weight on his shoulders. For most players, the benefit of the world’s most famous caddy by his side would have no doubt been outweighed by the stress brought on by all the extra pieces of luggage Steve Williams brought to the relationship.

Obviously, that has not been the case for Adam Scott.

Adam Scott’s play should have been the headline story last week but the fact that he has been able to handle the oddity of his situation throughout the week with the ease that he has is just making his play at the PGA Championship all the more impressive.

A lesser man would have collapsed.

The public should have a new found respect for Adam Scott after this whole ordeal. You may not like what his caddy has done but it is going to be hard not to cheer for him this weekend. It doesn’t matter if you think that Steve Williams doesn’t have the right to rub it into Tiger’s face because golf should never be about the caddies.

Adam Scott took the high road when he asked about his caddies comments. He might as well be on cloud nine right about now.

He may not win the PGA Championship but make no mistake, barring a meltdown of epic proportions, these last two weeks will go down as the most impressive stretch in the disappointing career of Adam Scott.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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Rory McIlroy, Another Wasted Talent?

Is Rory McIlroy the next great choke artist in golf?

Rory McIlroy cemented his place in Masters history but not in the way that he would have liked. McIlroy did his best magic act as he disappeared off of the leaderboard faster than you could say Augusta. The young Irish “phenom” was the first player in a major to blow a four shot lead after three rounds in a major since the infamous Jean Van De Velde meltdown.

The excuses will be endless for Rory McIlroy especially considering his seemingly great rapport with the media. He’s too young, inexperienced, everyone has a bad day, Tiger was prowling, or maybe even it was too hot outside for the Irishman. The list is endless. Either way, those excuses may hold water for the time being but the big question that should be on everyone’s mind is whether McIlroy is another great golf talent cursed with the spell of the choke?

One bad round in an otherwise steady Masters tournament generally wouldn’t signal as much cause for concern, however this isn’t the first time that McIlroy has faltered under the pressure of a major. McIlroy shot a 9 under par 63 at St. Andrews in the 2010 first round of the British Open only to follow that up with an 80 in round two. He shot a 68 and 69 respectively over next two days, which left him in a tie for 3rd place.

It’s a scary thought to see the supposed next star in golf already having major issues with his nerves. After a couple of poor shots today McIlroy’s psyche was snapped like a fragile twig. That doesn’t happen to the great ones.

Nicklaus or Tiger aren’t collapsing the way McIlroy did yesterday afternoon. Even at 21.

It isn’t just the complete, utter breakdown that McIlroy went through. Of the golfers who sat above 4 under par to finish the tournament, there were only two other players on Sunday who shot over par. Those players were Fred Couples and Ross Fisher who ended up tied for 15th with McIlroy at 4 under.

What does it say about a player who shot an 80 while no one above 2 under par shot worse than a 73?

Moreover, aside from a very good final few holes in round 3, McIlroy was at best steady after his remarkable first round. He had ample opportunity to grab the tournament by the neck but time after time was unable to take advantage. Don’t the great ones run away from the field?

It would be sad for golf if Rory McIlroy soon became equated with such names as Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Anthony Kim. As I wrote in January, the PGA desperately needs another player to add to the Tiger-Mickelson couple but once again a challenger has yet to emerge.

As a fan it is frustrating to see guys constantly falter on Sunday. The days of excusing players based on the Tiger factor are over. It’s about time people start getting in through their thick heads that Tiger’s supposed God-like aura was not the reason golfers choke. The onus is all on the players themselves.

Tiger’s inability to step up in the manner that he has in the past has allowed more guys like Charl Schwartzel to “prove” that they have the chops, but what are the chances we see Schwartzel falling into the category of the Ben Curtis’ and Rich Beem’s of the world?

Rory McElroy needed nothing more than a half-decent round on Sunday to truly solidify his status as one of the PGA’s elite. The career defining win that has eluded the likes of Lee Westwood would have been a huge confidence booster for the 21-year-old McIlroy.

Maybe he just doesn’t have it in him. That’s not to say that he won’t ever win a major but with Gary Busey on the Celebrity Apprentice showing more mental stability than McIlroy it seems unlikely that this young talent will be anything more than a perennial underachiever.

With the amount of talent that this young man possesses it would be a shame to see it go to waste. In his short career Rory McElroy has shown nothing that should lead us to believe that he will be the next great thing in golf and it would appear as though he is going to have to pull a rabbit out of his hat if he wants to win a major anytime soon.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favor.

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