By Nick Mulvenney
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Adam Scott had a day to forget at the Australian Open on Thursday but his disappointment was put into perspective when the news of the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes reached him in the scorer's hut.
Scott was still out on the course when the death of the international batsman from an injury sustained when he was hit by a ball on Tuesday was announced from a hospital just over three miles away, stunning a sports-mad nation.
Former U.S. Masters champion Scott, one of Australia's best known sportsmen, was clearly still digesting the news when he spoke to reporters having just signed his card.
"I just found out about it in there," he said. "It is sad, it's tragic. It's such an unlucky thing to happen.
"You've just got to think of his family and all his team mates, they must be hurting right now.
"I've had tons of tough days on the course, nothing on the course matters when things like that happen. It's just the way life is, unfortunately, it's not fair."
Scott started his day with a double bogey at the first and ended it by lipping out with a birdie putt at the 18th and little went right in between.
The 34-year-old ended up with a first round three over par 74, some seven shots behind the clubhouse leaders at The Australian Golf Club.
"It was a bad start, made the worst of my worst shots and didn't convert any of my good ones," Scott said.
"On the back foot again from the first day, again. I've got to play three really great days now. Seems that's what I'm doing most weeks now.
"You know, claw my way back into it tomorrow morning, get into red figures and hopefully won't be too far back at the weekend."
It was a far cry from last year when he arrived at the tournament having won the Australia Masters and PGA titles in the preceding weeks and scored a course record 10-under-par 62 in his first round at Royal Sydney.
(Editing by John O'Brien)