Augusta: Adam Scott has to pinch himself every time he watches replays of his 2013 Masters win and the Australian says he still finds it hard to believe he fulfilled a lifelong dream by landing the coveted Green Jacket.
Twelve months ago, Scott finally succeeded where the likes of Greg Norman, Peter Thomson and David Graham had failed, as he became the first Australian to triumph at the first major championship of the year.
“I try to put that Green Jacket on at least once a day,” the world No. 2 said. “But the feeling I have is that I’ve got to pinch myself to realise that it was me who achieved what I did last year.
“I don’t watch it too much on TV. It’s emotional for me, it’s also hard to believe it’s actually me in that position. Hard to believe I actually won.
“It takes a different level of focus in the majors, especially late in the rounds, and you just can’t believe you can execute the way you have.”
Scott will launch his title defence in the company of PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and US amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick. He was grouped with American Dufner and Englishman Fitzpatrick for the first two rounds in the draw announced on Tuesday.
Northern Ireland’s former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Americans Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth will tee off one group after Scott, Dufner and Fitzpatrick.
Three-times Masters champion Phil Mickelson will begin his bid for a sixth major title along with South African Ernie Els and England’s Justin Rose, the US Open champion.
In other groupings, Swedish world No. 3 Henrik Stenson will set off with Australian Jason Day and long-hitting American Dustin Johnson while 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa has been paired with American Jim Furyk and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.
In-form Jimmy Walker, who has won three times on the 2013-14 PGA Tour, will play his first ever round at the Masters in the company of fellow American Rickie Fowler and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell.
First off following ceremonial tee shots by golfing greats Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, will be American Stewart Cink and South African Tim Clark.
Scott gave a fascinating insight as to how his emotions sometimes get the better of him, when he watches golf from the comfort of his living room. “If I see friends and colleagues play down the stretch when I’m watching on TV at home, I get so nervous,” the 33-year-old explained.
“But when it is you that is actually in that position you’re not as nervous as when you’re at home sitting on the couch, watching someone else play because you are the one in control.
“You’ve been in that environment all day and it comes down to the belief and the knowledge that you’ve been working up to this for your whole life.”
Only Scott, Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner have made the cut in each of the last eight majors and it is the Australian who has by far the best record. He is a cumulative four-under-par for those eight championships, while Dufner is 12-over and Woods 21-over.
“I’ve performed extremely consistently in the last couple of years,” said Scott, a golf brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, who are a global sponsor of the Masters. “Realistically, I’ve given myself two or three chances to win and won one of them.
“I’m happy with that because the trend is going in the right direction and I’ve just got to keep that going, strike while the iron is hot and keep creating these chances.
“Winning one major is fantastic, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of good golf ahead of me. I might only have a small window of opportunity where I’m going to be doing it in the majors and I’m going to need to keep my foot on the gas,” Scott added.
Scott’s playoff victory over Argentine Angel Cabrera at Augusta National last year, was all the more laudable after he suffered the heartbreak of letting slip a four-shot lead in the last four holes to lose out to Ernie Els at the 2012 British Open. (Agencies)