Golf: Scott changing things up ahead of Masters

Adam Scott hitting a shot during the pro-am round for The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Feb 22, 2017.
Adam Scott hitting a shot during the pro-am round for The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on Feb 22, 2017. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Miami (AFP) - From training and scheduling to coaches and caddies, Australia's Adam Scott has changed his golf routine in order to enhance his chances at winning more major titles.

The 36-year-old world No. 7 defends his PGA Honda Classic title starting on Thursday at PGA National, the launch pad for a run to the Masters in April at Augusta National, where he captured his only major crown in 2013.

"Major events are important to me," Scott said Wednesday.

"It's a good time to take stock. I really want to win more majors before my time runs out."

To that end, Scott has split with long-time swing coach Brad Malone, his brother-in-law, and tweaked the shared caddie relationship between David Clark and semi-retired Steve Williams, the ex-caddie for Tiger Woods, who will now be Scott's bagman at tune-up events as well as the majors.

"I learned last year it's tricky for the caddie to know how I'm playing if they haven't seen me play for eight weeks," Scott said.

"That's critical going into a major so Steve will caddy the week before the majors so he's fresh with that information.

"I feel really good about where everything is this year. I feel I know what the outcome is going to be more so than last couple of years."

Scott outlined a plan of attack for the majors in 2011 that paid off with a Masters green jacket and saw him finish in the top-10 in 11 of 19 majors through to the 2015 British Open.

But Scott was an also-ran at the majors in 2016, sharing 42nd at the Masters, 43rd at the British Open and 18th at the US Open and PGA Championship.

"It was time. I saw the trends," Scott said.

"Preparing the way I was had kind of expired and I had to re-evaluate and refresh the whole system.

"I can be more productive doing a week's preparation at home, then playing an event and doing some practice at that event with clear focus before heading to the majors."

Now Scott will play the week before a major rather than try to use specific training and detailed course study as his major focus.

"Last year was not good and you have to look at everything and figure out why," Scott said.

"I played good in blocks of tournaments last year that weren't the majors while I didn't play so good in the majors that weren't blocks of tournaments. So I think playing in blocks suits me a little better now."

Scott will play the week before the Masters for the first time since 2010.

He will play in Houston the week before Augusta National, the St Jude Classic at Memphis a week before the US Open, the Scottish Open a week ahead of the British Open and the WGC event at Akron in advance of the PGA Championship.

"I'm going to stick with it. If it doesn't work at the Masters I am not going to throw it out," Scott said.

"I'll give it a fair chance. I see a lot of positives from this schedule change on and off the golf course. Hopefully it all works out and I sound like I know what I am doing."

Scott, the field's highest-ranked golfer, will play the first two rounds alongside Ireland's Padraig Harrington, the 2015 Honda Classic champion, and American Justin Thomas, three-time PGA Tour winner this season.