Scott eyeing elusive second Open crown

Darren Walton
Adam Scott is hoping to win his first Australian Open title since his only victory in 2009

An elusive second major aside, a second Stonehaven Cup is what Adam Scott craves most as the former world No.1 makes his eagerly-awaited Australian Open return on Thursday.

A conspicuous no-show at the past two editions, Scott will head up one of the hottest fields in years at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.

Turning 40 in 2020, Scott on Wednesday recalled how his 2009 Open breakthrough resuscitated his career and hopes another triumph can prove the springboard to an even more prosperous decade ahead.

"I wish I had more than one Australian Open. I've played very well generally in the 10 years since winning Australian Open, but that was a pivotal point in my career," said the 2013 Masters champion.

"It was really a huge moment.

"I was 10 years into my career and I really struggled in '09 with my game and I came back and won the Australian Open at the end of the year and it just turned everything around.

"From there I played very well and obviously went on to become No.1 a few years after.

"So it was a big moment for me."

For all his successes, though, Scott remains a one-major wonder.

Only superstars Rory McIlroy, with 18, and Dustin Johnson (16) can top the Australian's 15 top-10 finishes at golf's big four events this decade.

The 39-year-old yearns for more and admits missing last year's Open to focus on preparing for the 2019 majors and restoring his flagging ranking was a wrench.

"It wasn't exactly what I had in mind," Scott said.

"However, last year I just had to take a break. I'd pushed myself pretty hard to get my game back in shape and it had been a grind and I saw no other way to take a break and get ready for the big stuff.

"And I have certainly felt like I have prioritised playing as much as I can back in Australia. Certainly through the period when I was a major champion or No.1 in the world.

"It was disappointing to miss it, of course - I'm not going to win it by not playing it."

Scott is among six players from Ernie Els' International team in Sydney preparing for next week's Presidents Cup, joining countrymen Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, Mexico's defending champion Abraham Ancer, Taiwan's CT Pan and South African Louis Oosthuizen.

But he's certainly not at the Open merely to warm up for Tiger Woods' powerhouse US team.

He's still hurting from not winning the 2013 Open at Royal Sydney, after bogeying the 72nd hole before McIlroy birdied the last to snatch the Stonehaven Cup from his grasp.

Matt Jones also denied Scott by a shot four years ago at The Australian.

"I'm a little surprised that I haven't won another Australian Open in this 10-year stretch," Scott said.

"I managed to get a couple of (Australian) Masters in that period and a PGA (championship) but it would be nice to get my name on that cup again. It's a great trophy and any time you see your name wracking up on the same trophy is something quite special.

"So this week would be the week to do it."