Adam Scott returns to scene of win


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Sunday ceremony at Augusta National is not exactly the one that players in this week's Masters dream about, but Adam Scott, still glowing from his victory a year ago, enthusiastically took part.

Wearing his green jacket, Scott mingled on the lawn in front of the clubhouse, not far from the huge oak tree that shades most of the area. Around him were a bunch of 10- and 11-year-old boys who had just competed in the first Drive, Chip & Putt Championship.

Scott posed for photographs, signed autographs and handed out trophies. It was perhaps not on the "to-do" check list of the defending Masters champion, but Scott, good guy that he is, obliged.

The Sunday before Masters week is typically a slow, sleepy, peaceful day. For some reason, the media has always been allowed in on the last day members can play the course, while a slow trickle of tournament competitors arrive to check in and get a look at the surroundings in relative serenity.

But Masters officials started a new tradition Sunday with the skills competition that they announced a year ago, with 88 kids having qualified from around the country getting to partake on the pristine driving range and on the course's 18th hole.

"I think it's fantastic," said 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who had arrived for a practice round. "It's a great thing. I can't imagine how they must feel. I'd have had a hard time getting the ball off the ground.

"I think it's incredible. It's better than I could have imagined. I think it's great for the kids and great for golf."

It didn't hurt that tournament competitors such as Bubba Watson, Fred Couples, Darren Clarke, Vijay Singh and Mark O'Meara were here to watch, say hello, give their approval.

As is customary at the Masters, little was left undone. For example, a bio for each of the participants was prepared, and all were asked what they would serve at the Champions Dinner if they won the Masters.

Said Raina Ports of Akron, Ohio, who competed in the girls' 7-9 division: "Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, mashed potatoes and ice cream." Safe to say, that is not what Scott is serving.

Scott returned to Augusta National on March 24, his first visit to the club since winning a year ago. He played a practice round with, among others, Nick Price, and his coach, Brad Malone, was along for the journey.

"It was just a good, fun day," Scott said. "It was nice to come here and have a hit and not have to do too much. I thought it was good to do that.

"I was reminded by my coach as we were walking down 10 to stop and think about the last time we were walking down the 10th fairway and how it all was. That was a nice moment. I think it was nice of him to do that actually, to stop and smell the flowers for a second."

Scott, of course, won the tournament in a playoff over Angel Cabrera by holing a 12-foot birdie putt in sudden death at the 10th hole, all of which made his first trip around the course this year emotional.

"Absolutely, very much," he said. "Walking down there the last couple days thinking about it ... huge emotion. It's had an incredible impact on me the last year. The response. Talking about it. Reliving it. It's been nice, even these last couple days as well."

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