Adam Scott very well might not recover from what happened to him on Sunday.
I hope he does. I’d love to see him win at Kiawah next month (PGA) or at Augusta in April of 2013. He handled his Sunday demise with great grace and dignity, answering every question in the press conference, including several dumb ones like “how much does this hurt?” and “what was it like to stand next to Ernie as he held the trophy you basically had in your grasp?” I’m sure he was too numb to really consider the grand-scale-nature of his failure and how he’ll go in the history books of golf as the guy who gift-wrapped the British Open to Ernie Els.
Every parent with a son or daughter who plays competitive sports would serve their child well by sitting them down today and showing both the Adam Scott press conference and the Ernie Els press conference in the aftermath of Sunday’s developments at Royal Lytham.
Scott was the ultimate gracious loser, blaming no one but himself and coming across as a guy that will be easy to root for at some point down the road when he’s in position to win again. Els, known as “The Big Easy”, was literally uneasy in winning, knowing from experience how much pain Scott would be in after losing the way he did. Rather than talk about how great it was to end a decade of frustration, Els reflected on topics like Nelson Mandela in his home country of South Africa and his family in London.
You couldn’t have found two better examples of how to win with grace and lose with dignity.
In all fairness, I still haven’t recovered from my late round bogey-streak in 2007. I’ve tried to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Am every year since and haven’t made it, coming within two shots last year in Carlisle, PA…but ’07 was still my best chance. Like Adam Scott, I’m sure, I don’t think what happened to me in ’07 will be my defining moment. I believe I’m going to make it at some point, hopefully in a couple of weeks when I try to qualify for this year’s event in Chicago. I’m equally certain Adam Scott feels that other chances will come his way and that what happened to him at Lytham will someday be a distant memory when he’s wearing a green jacket or holding one of those big trophies they give out at the other three major championships.
But if Scott never wins a major, he’ll always be able to look back on the 2012 British Open and say “I lost, but I didn’t act like an ass. I didn’t blame the wind or the bad bounce at 18 or a spike mark on my final putt that just missed the hole. I lost and I stood up afterwards and answered the questions like a professional.”
Sometimes that’s more important than winning.
Losing with dignity like Adam Scott did on Sunday makes you a winner.