View Count: 141 |  Publish Date: April 07, 2014
Masters win suited him well

Adam Scotts green jacket tour comes full circle this week, back inside the gates of Augusta National.
Scott wore his jacket frequently and proudly these past 12 months. He took it to tournaments around the globe, his home in the Bahamas and his homeland in Australia.
And why not? Scott soared to prominence soon after joining the PGA Tour in 2003, but he waited a full decade - teasing and tantalizing along the way - before finally winning his first major championship by outlasting Angel Cabrera in last years rain-soaked Masters.
Only the reigning champion is allowed to take his green jacket off the grounds, and Scott took full advantage. He savored the reaction it produced everywhere he went.
If people arent golfers, they wonder why Im wearing a very bright green jacket, Scott said. But it gets an incredible response from golfers.
Scotts mere presence drew a near-frenzied response when he returned to his native Australia in November and December. He won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters, but the fans back home yearned simply to see and congratulate their long-awaited U.S. Masters champ.
They had been clamoring for one of their own to wear a green jacket for more than 25 years, ever since Greg Norman lost on Larry Mizes chip shot at Augusta National in 1987. Through a string of subsequent heartbreaking finishes - most notably, Normans epic collapse against Nick Faldo in 96 - Australians dreamed of a bloke from Down Under winning the Masters.
That it was their golden boy Scott, in a dramatic playoff tussle, made it even sweeter. Geoff Ogilvy, a fellow Australian and the 2006 U.S. Open winner, marveled at the huge crowds to greet Scott - people lining the fairways, 10-deep, in the final round of the Australian Open in Sydney on Dec. 1.
It was like Greg Norman in his heyday, the Pied Piper walking down the fairway, Ogilvy said. It was almost hysteria, Adam Scott mania.
Ogilvy enjoyed the scene. When he came down the stretch in the 06 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, ultimately winning after Phil Mickelsons meltdown, Scott was aboard a private jet preparing to leave suburban New York.
Scott heard his buddy was in contention and aborted his travel plans. He returned to the course to congratulate Ogilvy, and they hooked up with friends for a long, informal celebration at a nearby hotel.
That kind of sums up the guy, Ogilvy said. Most athletes, its about them - but Adam is one of the exceptions. Its not all about him. He was just as happy for me as he would have been for himself.
Scott joined Ogilvy as a major champion when his putting caught up with the rest of his game. Scott has long been considered one of the PGA Tours best ball strikers - his swing is balanced, powerful and silky smooth - but he struggled on the greens, finally finding some success with a long putter jammed into his chest (for now).
Not only did Scott win last years Masters, he also contended at Augusta National in 2011 and had the 12 British Open in his grasp until he made four consecutive bogeys to squander a late lead. Scott has posted seven top-10s in majors the past three years, after collecting only four the previous nine years.
His putting, though, remains sketchy at times. It abandoned him at last months Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he took a seven-shot lead midway through the tournament - and blew it, falling to Matt Every by shooting 71-76 on the weekend.
Scott missed several of the short, slick putts he will face this week in Augusta.
If nothing else, its a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do going to the Masters, he said. If I think back to last year, I made every putt you expect to in that last round. Ultimately, thats what gave me the chance to win.
Scott seems almost sheepish in the limelight that has engulfed him since his Masters victory. He made only two television appearances in the immediate aftermath, on the CBS Morning Show and a talk show airing in Australia.
For all the attention hes received since then, Scott found more satisfaction in sharing the victory with his dad, Phil, a club pro in Australia and Adams coach growing up. Phil Scott was there for his sons British Open pratfall, and he was there again for his redemption at the Masters.
Scott enjoyed repaying his parents for the sacrifices they made while he pursued golf as a kid. Now the kid is all grown up: 33 years old, ranked No. 2 in the world and hanging a prized green jacket in his closet. He returns for this weeks Masters as one of the favorites, especially with top-ranked Tiger Woods sidelined in the wake of back surgery.
Asked how often he tried on the jacket in front of a mirror the past year, Scott suddenly didnt seem sheepish.
Well, when I get to Augusta, he said, it will be about 365 times, I reckon.
Houston Open: Australian Matt Jones chips in on the first playoff hole to win his first PGA Tour event and earn a trip to the Masters. B72014 Masters
What: Golfs first major championship of year
When: Thursday through Sunday
Where: Augusta National, Augusta, Ga.
Last years winner: Adam Scott
TV: Noon-4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, ESPN; noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Channel: 5 Channel: 13 Channel: 46 ; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Channel: 5 Channel: 13 Channel: 46
Ron Kroichick is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @ronkroichick

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Time: 1:49  |  News Code: 396548  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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