By Tony Webeck
We all do it. Anyone who has ever taken a swing at a golf ball has followed various types of contact with some of these phrases:
But what does one of the best golfers in the world say to his Titleist?
Australian Golf Digest went inside the ropes with Adam Scott around the front nine at RACV Royal Pines – his back nine – for the opening round of the Australian PGA Championship on Thursday to watch, and most importantly, listen.
Coming off a bogey at 18 (his ninth), Scott left his birdie putt short at the first. When he did the same at the par-3 second, he exclaimed, “Hit it Scotty!”
I’m not sure how many other professional golfers refer to themselves by their nickname but it’s nice to know it is a cause of frustration for golfers of all levels. Just a pity playing partner Greg Chalmers didn’t suggest he step back and grab his handbag.
When he laced a tee shot 290 metres down the left side of the par-5 third with course designer and golfing great Graham Marsh in the gallery, he sent some urgings to Mother Nature through gritted teeth.
“Come on wind, come on wind!”
He needn’t have worried – he had an ideal line into the green. But when he didn’t quite catch his 3-wood, “Ohh!” he left himself a delicate chip from short of the green.
When amateur Curtis Luck enquired, “You or me Ad?” to see whose turn it was to hit at the fourth, the world No.7 simply said, “Go ahead.”
The interaction between Scott and Luck was an interesting sidenote to their grouping, with the only Aussie to have conquered Augusta providing regular encouragement to a young man who will make a maiden trip to the Masters courtesy of winning the US Amateur and Asia Pacific Amateur.
When Luck pitched to six feet from the back of the fourth green, Scott made a point of saying, “Good shot” when Luck was in range and the pair chatted comfortably throughout the round.
Scott’s own missed birdie opportunity at No.4 was met with a frustrated exhalation and a half swing of the putter. But there was better news ahead: his tee shot at the par-3 fifth responded to his “Come on!” encouragement to drift in from the right and finish eight feet from the hole.
Scott striped an iron down the centre of the short par-4 sixth, but his birdie putt ignored the suggestion to “Bend … Bend!” and stayed on the high side of the hole and safely above ground. He said nothing at all.
In danger of seeing his round stalling, Scott hit a perfect 3-wood down 404-metre seventh. But when his 14-foot birdie putt finally fell into the cup he gave the appreciative crowd a smile, nod and a wave and headed on to the eighth tee.A birdie there was met by more exuberant applause.
At the par-5 ninth, he fashioned a 7-iron from the rough to just short of the bunker fronting the right portion of the green. A well-played pitch and six-foot putt completed an opening round of 68, three shots behind early leader Andrew Dodt.
“I was treading water there for a while but on those holes it was never the perfect number,” Scott said after his round.
“Cautious of going over the green, in between clubs and you just have to be patient and it paid off because I birdied the last three.
“Small things at random points in the round can count for a lot and it was nice to finish strong because I genuinely think I’m playing better than I’ve scored.”