When he was in his prime, it’s no secret that Tiger Woods was the most talented golfer on the course. But fellow professionals have long been enthusiastic about the other gift that Woods possessed, which was perhaps his best: his mind.
Adam Scott, who will compete in his 10th Presidents Cup this week, has faced Woods several times over the past two decades. They first met at UNLV’s gym, when Woods sometimes worked there and Scott was a student-athlete at the school, but they didn’t really get to know each other until they both worked with Butch Harmon.
Scott learned a lot about Woods, and in this week’s Subpar Podcast with co-hosts Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost, he was asked if he had any good stories about the 15-time major champion.
“There are plenty,” Scott said.
The Aussie went on to explain how much better Woods was than everyone else and also elaborated on the psychological warfare he would use on the golf course.
“Physically he just outperformed everyone. He rode it better than anyone, irons, chipped, putt, clutch, it was everything better than everyone else,” Scott said. “And that’s why he dominated. He just had it so much better in his head than anyone and then he got to the point where he was just playing brain games on the court and in majors. He pulled way too much club on a par-3 and showed you the way it happened. He kind of hit it off with a 7 and flew in nicely and showed you it was a 7, and you knocked out if it was an 8 or a 9. And you thought, ‘Well, it’s definitely an 8 if he hits a 7,’ and then you go ahead and hit an 8 and airmail the green.
“This was kind of a standard thing when he was messing with guys so much,” continued Scott. “It got to the point where I started having some success playing Tiger by not watching him play. That was the best way to go. I literally turned my back and didn’t see him make a move or a shot or felt like I could get sucked into the drama that was going on with Tiger Woods because there was so much going on.”
Scott brought up one story from the 2000 Open Championship in St Andrews, which was Scott’s first major as a pro. He played a practice round with Woods, David Duval and Mark O’Meara.
Scott played for some money and was the only player without a bogey through 10 holes. On the 11th, with a headwind approach, Woods hit a pure 4-iron into the green. Scott had a 5-iron in his hand, which he thought was the right club. But after seeing Woods’ shot, Scott began to question his club selection. If Woods, one of the best strikers and tallest players in the world, hits four irons from there, could Scott get a five iron from a comparable spot?
“I saw him hit the 4, went back to the bag, got the 4 and sent the green by airmail,” Scott said. “[Tiger] said, ‘You must never look at my bag.’”
You can listen to Scott’s full Subpar performance below, where he talks about the Presidents Cup, his career, where his family is now calling home and more.