Adam Scott has champ's confidence

He was no longer the 30-something with the Tiger Woods talent and the Tiger Woods athleticism who had gagged away the Open Championship and who hadn't won a damn thing.

"I think in some ways [it] has taken a little pressure off me as I teed up today and kind of felt like, 'What was the worst that can happen? I'm still going to be a Masters champion,'" Scott said.

Nothing is more dangerous, tee to green, than a liberated winner with Scott's natural ability.

"There's no doubt winning the Masters last year had me a little more comfortable on the first tee than I've ever been in the past," he said, "because I didn't have the legs shaking and nerves jangling for six or seven holes, like usual."

So nothing would throw him this week, not with that green jacket in the bag. Scott served as something of an official greeter for Sunday's inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt for young boys and girls, prepping him for the pairing with Fitzpatrick. He was upgraded into the champions' locker room, where he shared a stall with Gary Player. He was the man at Tuesday night's annual champions dinner, speaking to a roomful of legends who eagerly accepted him into their club, an experience he described as surreal.

"The words they had to say about what I did last year," Scott said, "meant the world to me."

He also appeared at Wednesday night's Golf Writers Association of America dinner to accept his Player of the Year award. It all made for a busy week, and perhaps for a growing suspicion that Scott would be worn down and in no condition to win by Sunday afternoon.

He shot down that notion Thursday with his words ("It's all good vibes") and his clubs. He settled down Fitzpatrick and even survived Jason Dufner, his other partner, who chopped up the place and shot 80. Scott made five birdies and a decisive par save at the 18th in declaring that he's ready and willing to join Woods, Nicklaus and Nick Faldo as the only repeat champions of the Masters, and then some.

"I hope I get on one of those runs where I'm one of the guys who kind of develops an affinity for the golf course, like Phil Mickelson has and many other guys have as well over the years," Scott said. "I feel like the course sets up well for me, and while it's like this, I've got to take advantage of it."

Working on major title No. 2, Scott is the same age as Mickelson was when he won the first of his three green jackets. The golfer known for making women melt now makes men tremble. Scott has seven top-10 finishes in his past dozen majors, leaving his No. 2 world ranking looking like a lie.

"I played with probably the best golfer in the world today," young Fitzpatrick said.

By Sunday evening, the way Adam Scott is playing, a good bet says there won't be any "probably" about it.

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