PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Two years ago, Adam Scott hoisted the trophy, handed to him by tournament host Tiger Woods, after winning the Genesis Invitational.
In a career that includes victories in the Masters, the Players, the Tour Championship and a pair of WGCs, Scott’s win at Riviera Country Club was a big deal.
“Having Tiger present you a trophy is something special for my career,” Scott said Wednesday ahead of the 2022 Genesis. “His involvement in this tournament has taken it up to another level. That’s something I’ll also remember. It was a great week for me and means a lot to win here because it’s my favorite course on Tour.”
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Scott was then asked if he could recall watching Woods win the Masters in 1997.
“I was in my final year of high school in Australia and it would have been on a Monday morning. I’m pretty sure we were watching before school that morning. It was quite incredible,” he said, noting that the final round was merely a formality as Woods marched towards his first green jacket. “There was just this phenomenon happening at that time for the last eight months. I even watched him win the U.S. Amateur in Australia and I don’t know if the U.S. Amateur’s ever been seen in Australia before that. It was a big deal, that U.S. Amateur. Then he just kind of ticked every box along the way for the next eight months and won the Masters by 12. It was just incredible.
“I was an aspiring golfer and it was just amazing to have a figure like that. At that time it was great timing for me in my career to really keep pushing me. I had Greg Norman be a dominant player up until I was 16, really, until Tiger came along, then Tiger just took it to another level really.”
What about when Woods made his first appearance in Australia? Also a big deal Down Under, particularly for Scott, who had an interesting run-in with the tournament’s featured attraction.
“In 1996 in December, the Aussie Open was at the Australian Golf Club and he came down to play. I missed qualifying and I caddied for my buddy who qualified. He was a left-hander and we were on the 10th hole teeing off and he blocked it into the 18th fairway and Tiger was coming down the 18th hole. I’ve got like a carry bag over the shoulders and I was 15 and I was just a weed at the time. I had to clear Tiger’s crowd for my buddy to hit a shot up to the 10th green. I was so nervous and just I was probably looking at Tiger more than I was looking at a yardage book on my man there. It was quite an experience to have him come down to Australia and drag thousands and thousands of people around.
“Sometimes it’s easy to forget that early Tiger-mania. I don’t know if we’ll see that again.”