Lessons From Adam Scott

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I’d rather poke my eye out with a rusty bike spoke than watch golf.

Yesterday was different.

I held my breath watching Adam Scott claim victory in the US Masters. But at one stage, I thought Scott was about to repeat what his mentor did almost 20 years ago.

In 1996, Greg Norman choked at the U.S. Masters to gift Nick Faldo the victory.

Half a world away, a 15 year-old Adam Scott watched in horror as his hero and golfing idol choked on the world’s biggest golf stage.

Fast-forward to 2012, and the roles were reversed. This time, it was Scott’s chance to find his killer instinct and win the British Open. Scott had set up a near perfect tournament leading into the final round.

It was on the 14th hole that Scott unravelled. He missed par on the 15th. Then three-putted on the next.

One of his putts was compared to the Shark, as it spun in and then out of the hole.

The 17th started better, but again finished poor after finding the rough.

Now his inner voice took over. You could see the colour fade from his face.

Memories of the previous year’s US Masters came flooding back.

You could see his game plan dissapear, with his nerves holding up about as well as a Lion Air aeroplane.

He threw away the lead. He lost the tournament.

Fast-forward to 2013, and Scott holds on to win a stunning US Masters.

Adam Scott - Stark contrast to his majors in 2011 and 2012

Adam Scott – Stark contrast to his majors in 2011 and 2012

It offerred sweet redemption for Scott, and highlighted some great lessons that you (and I) can apply.

1) Be Loyal

In 2011, Scott’s caddie Steve Williams was in trouble after commenting on his ex-partner, Tiger Woods.

The golfing world and the media were outraged. They called for Scott to dump his caddie in protest.

Scott, in his trademark calm approach, had other ideas.

When asked if Williams should be fired, Scott said: “I disagree with that. I value Steve’s contributions to my game and having him on the bag.”

Scott obviously knew the qualities that Williams brings to his game and to his life.

It shows us that people like Williams, those with character and those you trust, are worth standing by.

2) Learn from Failure

When you look back on Scott’s career, in addition to the majors and tournaments won, two key miletstones will stand out:

– 2nd at the US Masters in 2011
– 2nd at the British Masters in 2012

In both cases, Scott blew an early lead to slip away. He himself admitted he couldn’t handle the pressure. Speaking after the 2011 loss, he says that, ”

We can all learn from failure. Look at any failure and ask, “what’s good about this? What lessons could I take?”

If you’re not failing, you’re simply not pushing outside of your comfort zone. Embrace failing, and then look for the positives every single time.

3) Belief

Scott has always had belief in his own ability.

“Everyone has always said I’m a guy with potential to win majors or be a great player, but until you’ve got physical proof that you can do it, maybe you don’t 100% believe it,” Scott said.

“And I think the way I look at (the British Open) is that it was the proof that I’m good enough to win major championships. Although I didn’t finish like a champion … I have in the past at other tournaments, so I know I’ve got that in me. It’s just putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think that might have been the last piece for me.”

You know there’s going to be setbacks. So have confidence that you can handle whatever is thrown your way. Whatever walls are put up in front of you, be prepared to walk right through them.

4) Follow Through

On reflection of his two major losses, Scott now knows the importance of finishing the job the way you start it.

“What I’ve learned is you can’t allow yourself to feel comfortable until the job is done,” he says.

“Whatever levels of intensity and focus get you into a winning position, you have to maintain them all the way to the end.”

I see a LOT of people start their fitness transformation with gusto and 100% adherence. The first two weeks they are perfect, but then things begin to slip.

A workout is missed. They start having a wine again each night. Or they simply lose intensity in their workouts.

It’s always important to review goals, and plan each week in advance, to stay on track and maintain the momentum.

5) Nice Guys CAN Win

Over his career, Scott had been viewed as too nice a guy to win a major.

Especially when compared to Tiger. Tiger polarizes Scott’s personality with his aggression and, at times, arrogance.

That public opinion grated on him. Speaking to Golf Australia magazine last year, he claimed, “When people say I don’t have heart, it really gets on my goat and it’s unfair.”

Yesterday, in that final putt on the 18th, the world saw a change in Scott. He was still the nice guy, but he had found the killer instict.

Two holes later, he put an end to that opinion, and did something a whole lot bigger for golf and for Australian sport.

For me, #4 is the big one. With my ADD brain, I always start exciting new projects (or articles, like the dozen or so that are 80% finished) without finishing them.

What about you? What did you find the most helpful from this article? Care to share? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Talk to you in the comments,

Pete