ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Adam Scott cuts an imposing figure on the Sea Island practice tee. The 14-time PGA Tour winner stands out even in a Tour crowd and having the 41-year-old on the RSM Classic tee sheet is noteworthy for countless reasons.
As Adam Scott goes, so goes many of the game’s best players.
The RSM Classic, the final event of the Tour’s fall frame, enjoys a cozy spot on the coziest of islands. In its 12th edition, the event has become a stress-free chance to put a bow on what is always a long year. But Scott, and a growing number of others, have other plans.
This is the Australian’s fourth start in the fall and his first at the RSM Classic. That’s the most he’s ever played in the fall and it’s very much by design.
“I think you take it differently depending what position you're in. I find myself playing a few times this fall. I wouldn't say a lot, but I'm playing four events in the fall because this will be my last event most likely in the States until Genesis next year,” Scott said Wednesday at Sea Island.
“The idea was to try and play a few and play well and put myself with a little cushion for the FedExCup, because no doubt I'm going to fall about 10 spots every week I don't play now and I'll come back in 150th place. I really want a good result this week so I'm not in that position.”
Change is coming in professional golf. Whether it’s the Greg Norman-led super league or a PGA Tour-proposed fall series that would reward the game’s best players with guaranteed riches, the landscape is evolving and it will force players to evolve with it.
For Scott, that means adding last week’s Houston Open, which he won in 2007 but has only played the event once since 2017, and the RSM Classic to pad whatever points he can until he returns to the circuit in February at the Genesis Invitational. Instead of his normal West Coast swing on the PGA Tour, Scott plans to start 2022 on the European Tour.
“A slight change to my schedule, a bit like I used to do when I was a lot younger starting the year in the Middle East and then coming to America a little later in the year,” Scott said. “I think given all things in my life, where things are at, I think that's going to be a nice way to start the year and maximize not only my family time but my golf time as well.”
Scott’s decision is partly driven by logistics with his home in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland. There’s also a competitive side to this. Following a lackluster start to the year, Scott rebounded late with a runner-up finish at the Wyndham Championship followed by solid showings at the CJ Cup (T-5) and the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship (T-14). When you’re playing well, the hardest thing to do is take a week off.
“I'm very optimistic about where things are at. Some things, although it was frustrating this year, have moved in a positive direction for me and I now look to benefit off the back of that next year,” he said.
And then there’s all of the noise that’s filled the last few months with mountains of speculation. Norman’s move into the global tour business has, at the very least, forced the Tour to reevaluate how it does business. The proposed fall series would focus on the circuit’s top 40 or so players with the promise of guaranteed paydays. It’s a direct response to Norman and whatever super league he brings.
As unnerving as it all seems most agree competition is always good – for both the established and the disruptors.
In Scott’s case what some see as chaos is a reason to do things differently and rethink the norm.
“I know there's been a lot of talk, our season is very long and as you get older, I think you have to make that time off somehow,” he said. “Unfortunately, sometimes that means sacrificing playing events and falling well off the pace, but your goals might have to change, too, and the focus doesn't become the season, it becomes certain events.”
It’s very much a season of change at golf’s highest level and as the Australian normally does, he's among the first to evolve.