Adam Scott seeks to erase regrets after British collapse

Adam Scott of Australia chips to the first Adam Scott of Australia chips to the first green during the third round of the PGA Championship. (Aug. 11, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Mark Herrmann Newsday columnist Mark Herrmann

Herrmann has covered the Mets and Yankees since 1988, and has been Newsday’s national golf writer since ...

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C.

'Redemption" is too strong a word. Adam Scott did nothing criminal or sinful on the final four holes of the British Open, he only threw away the greatest chance of his life. So he is shooting for something different today: Another chance.

Who can't identify with that?

Anybody would like another chance to erase their greatest regret, to reverse their greatest failure. To Scott's credit, he has given himself that opportunity the first chance he got. In his first major since his epic collapse with four bogeys in a row to finish a bleak Sunday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Scott has another chance to do it right.

He has a shot to win the PGA Championship this afternoon. Scott gave himself that chance by having his British Open back nine in reverse Saturday afternoon here on the Ocean Course. He sank a shot from a bunker -- which officially is not a bunker in the wacky rules here this week -- on the par-3 fifth hole and he was on his way. Four birdies in five holes.

Scott sank a long putt -- if only he had done that just once on the Sunday afternoon in England -- on No. 9 and suddenly he had gone from being one of the fringe players to being one of the prime prospects. When play was suspended for the day by a fierce coastal storm, he was at 5-under par through nine holes of his third round, only one shot behind co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh.

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Funny that McIlroy is one of those out front. If anyone knows what went through Scott's head, heart and stomach lately, it is McIlroy. At the Masters last year, McIlroy was in complete control. The great, respected tournament was all his to lose. And he lost it, horribly and embarrassingly. Then, in his very next major, the U.S. Open at Congressional, McIlroy won in a walk.

All of that went through his mind when he saw what happened at Royal Lytham. "I sent him a text straight after," McIlroy said. "I just said, 'Don't let the last four holes hide the fact that you played better than anyone else for the first 68.' You just have to really believe in yourself. You know it's tough. It's a tough loss. At that moment in time you think that's the only chance you're ever going to get, and your whole world came crashing down. But in reality, Adam is such a great player that he's going to have plenty of chances.

"I said it at the time at the Masters, you need to lose before you can win," McIlroy said.

The tension comes from the fact Scott, 32, is no kid; that there is no evidence on how "great" he really is and that he already knew how to lose. "I left that major the same as I've left every other one, that's empty-handed," he said last week.

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To his credit, he has not been defensive or gnarly about what happened. He has been patient and honest with the questions. He played a practice round here this week with Ernie Els, the man who beat him at the British.

"Even with the last four holes, I played spectacular golf for such a long period of time in a major championship," Scott said the other day. "That's something I've been working to do for my whole career."

No redemption necessary. He has another chance Sunday. What he will do with it sure will be worth watching, and maybe even worth rooting for a little bit.

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