Trailblazing Scott eyes Open glory

He broke Australia’s 77-year Masters jinx and usurped Tiger Woods from the top ranking, but Adam Scott says his career won’t be complete until he raises the Claret Jug at St Andrews.

Scott gets a fourth chance this week as the former world No.1 joins Jason Day in spearheading Australia’s 15-man assault on The Open at golf’s spiritual home.

“Any golfer has to appreciate the history of this place and the uniqueness of the golf course,” Scott ahead of Thursday’s opening round.

“It’s a fun challenge and I think all the greats have said it: your career is not complete until you’ve won The Open at St Andrews.”

After missing the cut on an otherwise dream major championship debut as a teenager in 2000, Scott finished equal 34th in 2005 and tied for 27th in 2010.

As has become habit, Scott arrived for his latest tilt more than a week early as he bids to end Australia’s 22-year Open title drought.

“So I’ve done as much as I can, I believe. I’m just waiting for Thursday now,” said Scott after being the first player on and off the course following a 6.40am practice round.

The Queenslander’s meticulous planning and preparation has shown in second, third and fifth-place finishes in the past three years.

But a shattering near miss from four shots in front with four holes to play at Royal Lytham in 2012 has left Scott with a definite sense of unfinished business.

“There’s no doubt I’ve obviously played well at The Open the last few years. I felt I had my hand on the trophy one of the years and I let it slip,” he said.

“Last year I got on the wrong side of the draw and still had a good result.

“I don’t want to say it might owe me one, but I’d like to play well this week and have a chance and it might go my way.”

Scott is also buoyed by his flawless final-round 64 at last month’s US Open after a disappointing 38th at the Masters.

“That was a great round of golf. I played good all week and to put it all together that round. I want to keep that going here,” he said.

“It’s very different conditions here this week. I think we’re going to see a lot more birdies unless the weather gets nasty.”

Tellingly, Scott’s equal fourth at Chambers Bay came after he asked Steve Williams, the esteemed caddie for Woods’ two runaway victories at St Andrews, to once again carry his bag after his Masters disappointment.

Williams helped Scott to a spurt of eight top-10s in the majors before the pair split at the end of 2014.

The Kiwi’s return immediately jolted Scott into US Open contention.

“It’s obviously always a bonus to have Steve,” he said.

“He’s a man with a wealth of experience and he’s won the tournament twice here.

“He’s seen how it’s done and certainly when you’re coming down the stretch with a chance, that’s certainly a good man to lean on.”

Like Scott exactly a decade before him, Day made his major championship debut at St Andrews and, five years on, the 26-year-old world No.9 has fond memories of making the halfway cut.

Then 21, Day was playing alongside Tom Watson and had to be up at 4am to complete the final three holes of his second round in even par as several major winners perished in fierce 60km/hr winds.

“Jason’s a proven major contender over the last few years,” Scott said.

“He’s going to be feeling like he’s got to get one sooner or later.

“He can’t keep playing this good and not win one.”

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