Adam Scott is adamant the ceremonial duties he’s relishing won’t detract from his bid to become only the fourth man to successfully defend the US Masters title.
He promises it’ll be all business when he tees off alongside US PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and US Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick at Augusta National on Thursday aiming to claim both the green jacket and world No.1 ranking on Sunday.
Scott was playing well in an all-Australian practice round grouping with John Senden, Steven Bowditch and amateur Oliver Goss on Tuesday, while offering a few course tips to Masters rookies Bowditch and Goss.
From there the world No.2 turned to hosting the annual Champions dinner, Moreton Bay bugs, mum’s pavlova and all – one of many extra duties this week for the first Australian to conquer Augusta National.
Scott says it would be impossible to count the number of handshakes, back pats and photos he’s been part of since arriving at Augusta National, where he’s sharing a locker with Gary Player in the champions’ locker room.
But he insists his readiness isn’t suffering unduly as he attempts to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only men to win back-to-back in the Masters’ 78-year history.
“I’ll be ready to get inside the ropes and compete,” said Scott. “I’m trying to balance everything the best I can and enjoy it.
“I don’t know if there are answers to why only a couple guys have managed to repeat their (Masters-winning) performance (the next year). 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.”
Scott is coming off a nerve-shaking finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he led by seven shots after 36 holes and three coming into the final round but shot a 76 to crash to third.
He says that prompted him to work even harder on his game in the last two weeks.
“I feel I’m playing really well,” Scott said. “The game was there at Bay Hill.
“Hopefully I’ve sharpened it up a little more since then, but I’m definitely feeling a lot more comfortable on this golf course.
“And certainly winning (last year), the confidence you take from that helps as well.”
Scott heads a seven-man Australian contingent including world No.4 Jason Day, Marc Leishman, recent PGA Tour winners John Senden, Steve Bowditch and Matt Jones plus teenage amateur Oliver Goss.
And Day again looms as one of Scott’s main challengers, desperate to claim his maiden major title after a second and third at the Masters in the past.
“I’m feeling great,” said Day, who had been troubled by a thumb injury in the lead up.
“I think the course sets up nice for me. I hit the ball pretty long and I hit the ball pretty high as well and with the undulation and speed on the greens you definitely need to hit it a lot higher than lower.
“My coach and myself, we’ve come up with a good game plan over the last three years that has worked pretty well.
“For me it is just about going out there and executing the plan.”
For Bowditch and Jones, Tuesday’s practice represented their first foray onto the Augusta National course.
“It was great, it was wonderful, just very special,” Bowditch beamed.