GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Adam Scott has been at it for over two decades. He admits that visiting the same venues and tournaments on a yearly basis can sometimes lead to complacency. But having a goal gave him inspiration this week at the FedExCup St. Jude Championship.
Scott entered week one of the FedExCup Playoffs ranked 77th in the standings, needing a strong finish just to advance to the next event.
He succeeded, firing four rounds of par or better to finish T5 at 11 under par. He jumped 32 places in the FedExCup to No. 45, securing his first BMW start in two years.
“It was really about putting my mind to (doing) something and doing it,” Scott said. “I think sometimes that’s the hardest thing at this point in my career… changing your mind all the time. Floating on autopilot sometimes… it doesn’t get you very far, so I had to focus a bit more.”
This was Scott’s fourth top-10 finish in 18 starts this season, but his first in a stroke-play event since The Genesis Invitational in February. It’s been a solid season: He only missed two cuts and posted top-15 finishes in the last two majors of the year, but he lacked the high finishes that rack up points.
This was a timely performance, too. Scott was playing not just for his fate at the FedExCup this week. He also wanted to secure his status on the International Presidents Cup team. The top eight in the team standings after next week’s BMW Championship will earn automatic spots on Trevor Immelman’s Team International that will take on the USA at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club on September 22-25.
Scott came into TPC Southwind ranked eighth on the international points list. While the captain’s pick would be a certainty if he didn’t earn an automatic roster spot, Scott’s performance at TPC Southwind unlocks another pick for captain Trevor Immelman.
“That’s huge for us,” Immelman said of Scott earning his spot. “There’s no question about it. When I got this job, he was one of the guys that I had pointed out would be very important (at Quail Hollow).”
The added flexibility is appreciated. Immelman has many options.
Presidents Cup veterans like Marc Leishman, Jason Day, Adam Hadwin, Si Woo Kim, Anirban Lahiri, Jhonattan Vegas and Emiliano Grillo are outside the top eight, as are up-and-comers Min Woo Lee, Ryan Fox, Taylor Pendrith and Christiaan. Bezuidenhout and PGA TOUR winners like Sebastian Muñoz, Mackenzie Hughes, Lucas Herbert and Cam Davis.
Scott led the field in Stroke Gains: Putting this week, winning nearly 4 strokes in the final round alone. He saved an even round on Saturday despite not playing well, and then shot 66 on Sunday. He could have moved even higher in the FedExCup if not for a drive into the water on the 72nd hole, though he was able to save the bogey.
Immelman believes the presence of veterans on his team is trending in the right direction and he is close to earning his first PGA TOUR win since the 2020 Genesis Invitational, which fell just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“His swing seems to be in a good place. The sound is correct,” Immelman said. “I really think he has become a good putter in the last three years. When you combine that, I think he’s right there.”
Immelman, who is also a broadcaster for CBS, enjoys spending time on the shooting range at PGA TOUR events, observing the players whose shots he will score and potential team members. Scott has noticed.
“He’s been watching me struggle every week, the old dog out here, pounding me on the ground trying to make his team,” says Scott. He and Immelman have been friends since their amateur days, and Scott is a de facto assistant captain, qualified to give his opinion on a variety of matters.
It was a five-minute speech Scott gave to his teammates as they drove to Royal Melbourne for their first practice rounds three years ago that helped the International Team take the lead heading into Sunday.
“It was so amazing, so sincere,” Immelman said. “It really meant a lot, particularly when you consider we had seven rookies on that team.”
Scott did what he had to do on Sunday to help Immelman advance in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Friends from his junior golf days in Dallas. The last two PGA TOUR Rookies of the Year. Will Zalatoris and Scottie Scheffler are now the top two players in the FedExCup standings.
Scheffler has led since March, but with quadrupling points in the playoffs, Zalatoris was able to supplant Scheffler, who missed the cut in Memphis, atop the FedExCup.
Zalatoris now has a 125-point lead over Scheffler. Cameron Smith dropped to third in the standings after his T13 at TPC Southwind and will round out the main pack in the BMW Championship.
Zalatoris’ win at the FedEx St. Jude Championship came in his first career Playoff start.