PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA | Aussies are a laconic lot, short of word while long on wit and wisdom. It’s one of the reasons Americans like them: In a world filled with overwrought windbaggery, a strong, Spartan, quiet, thoughtful, private man who lives each day on a word budget reminds us of West Texas cowboys – “I hate a man that talks rude. I won’t tolerate it” – or World War II generals who answer the enemy’s call for surrender with “Nuts.”
Droll responses to drama seem to be mandated Down Under: Yeah, my mate lost his arm to a shark; wish I’d been there to give him a hand. Me little wife said to get that croc off the lawn; know anybody who makes luggage?
Playing golf in southern Asia a few years ago, I almost stepped on a cobra that was lounging beside a footbridge. After reacting exactly as you might expect, I told the Australian golf pro what happened. He said: “Well, where do you think they live, mate?”
Adam Scott comports himself exactly the same way. Polite enough to make any mama proud but steeled by the blows of dramatic defeats, Scott, a 35-year-old father of a 1-year-old who has more worldwide professional wins (29) than any player under 40, doesn’t shy away from the icky stuff. He doesn’t pout, or blame, or turn his fortunes, good or bad, into something they’re not. When he makes a mistake he owns it. And he moves on, sometimes in defeat but sometimes to victory.
“That’s what you have to do, just keep grinding until the round’s over,” Scott said.
Such was the case on Honda Classic Saturday at the entrance to the Bear Trap, PGA National’s three-hole stretch from Nos. 15-17, two par-3s bracketing a dogleg right par-4, where the tournament, in the words of designer and host Jack Nicklaus, “should be won or lost.”