Adam Scott has switched back to the long putter at this week's Players Championship in a bid to improve his lowly world ranking position and secure a place in next month's US Open, which he is not currently exempt for.
Scott, 37, has fallen 40 places in the world rankings this season from 31st to 71st as a result of just two top-20 finishes in eight starts in 2018.
The issue? A cold putter. Actually, a freezing one. The 2013 Masters currently ranks 193rd in strokes-gained putting. The answer? An old friend, Scott hopes.
Fourteen years after he captured the trophy at The Players Championship, Scott returned to TPC Sawgrass on Monday with a long putter protruding from his bag.
“It’s easy to see why I don’t have good scores on four rounds, because two of the days my putting is well below average. And that just makes it almost impossible to compete,” said Scott. “I need to be average putting to be competing, which doesn’t sound that hard to do, really. I should be able to do that.”
He added: “I’ve spoiled a lot of good golf with a few balls in the water and doubles at inopportune times. Momentum killers,” Scott said. “When your confidence isn’t right there, and you’re fighting to get it back up, that’s kind of shattering. Because it can take you 18 holes to work yourself back to the position you were, and then the tournament’s over and you’re nowhere again.”
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With the rest of Scott's game relatively strong on paper, ranking 21st strokes gained: tee to green and 25th in strokes gained: approach, the 13-time PGA Tour winner knows even a moderate week with the putter could change things quickly.
But on the verge of missing next month's US Open at Shinnecock Hills, which would mark his first absence from a major tournament since the 2001 US Open, Scott knows he must get a wriggle on. Scott currently has a streak of 67 straight majors, only second to Sergio Garcia among active runs on Tour.
In order to avoid sectional qualifying for the US Open, Scott must make his way into the top 60 of the world rankings by either May 21 or June 11 - only he's trying not to think too much about it.
“I honestly haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “I’m trying to be optimistic and think I’ll have a couple good weeks and get myself into it.”