Scott, seeking US Open berth, returns to long putter at Players

by Bernie McGuire
Adam Scott of Australia out of the bunker on the 14th hole during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 5, 2016 in Doral, Florida

Adam Scott has put a long putter back in his bag at the Players Championship this week as he vies to qualify for the US Open and keep his streak of major championship starts alive.

The 37-year old Australian has slipped to 71st in the world -- with the top-60 in the world as of June 11th qualifying automatically for the second major of 2018, which starts on June 14 at Shinnecock Hills on New York's Long Island.

Scott's five-year exemption into the US Open from winning the 2013 Masters ended last year, raising the spectre that he could miss the championship for the first time since making his debut in 2002 at Bethpage Black.

Through last month's Masters, Scott has played 67 straight major championships, a streak stretching back through the 2001 Open Championship.

But a progression of poor performances since securing third place in the 2016 end-of-season Australian PGA Championship has seen Scott slowly slip down the world rankings.

The former world number one, who won the Players in 2004, is hoping a return to TPC Sawgrass will mark a start of better things, and he believes the long putter could help.

Scott first turned to a long putter early in 2011 and in August that year he captured the WGC?Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

And while Scott has since used two other long putters as well as a "regulation" putter, he said the long-shafted version in his bag this week is the first one he ever used, although current rules no longer allow it to be anchored against his body.

"It is actually the first long-handled putter I ever used from back in 2011 as I have only used three in my time of using long putters," he said.

"This one has a bit smaller head and a different weight to the one I finished up using, and it also feels a lot better given it is no longer anchored.

"It is the same length as I had before and it swings much better."

"I won Akron with this putter whereas the putter I won the Masters was the first week I used it, so it's not the same putter as that this week."

Scott, who won the Players in 2004, voiced confidence that he can curb his world ranking slide.

"It is only a couple of good weeks' play and the competitor in me is never going to say I can't do it," he said. "I feel like my game is getting to a place where I can put top-10s together.

"There have been moments of frustration," he said. "I have spoiled a lot of my golf by putting balls into the water and taking doubles at inopportune times and they have been momentum killers.

"When your confidence isn't right there and you are fighting to get it back up that?s kind of shattering."

Adam Scott of Australia out of the bunker on the 14th hole during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral Blue Monster Course on March 5, 2016 in Doral, Florida