Monday 17 February 2020 4:16 pm

Four years without a win and now two in a row: king of the swingers Adam Scott is back at the top of the game

You will never watch Adam Scott play golf on television without the commentators gushing about how good his swing is.

When you think about the great ball-strikers, the Australian is one of the first names that comes to mind.

For me, he is up there in the top 10 of all time, along with Tiger Woods, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

Read more: Nick Taylor, Pebble Beach and the importance of a golfer’s second win

We used to say that he had taken Tiger’s swing and made an even more refined version of it.

Golf is a well-rounded game of different elements but if you’re a fairways-and-greens man then you’re a king, so it was nice to see a ball striker in Scott win at the Genesis Invitational on Sunday.

Riviera is not a course that you can overpower; it calls for a more chess-like approach and is a true golfer’s course. And that’s probably why Scott won.

I caught most of the final round and it was beautiful to watch a top player back in his prime.

After three rounds he held a share of the lead yet was way down in the putting stats, which tells you how well he was playing in other respects.

On Sunday he was exceptional.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy was among Scott’s rivals before his challenge fell away on the front nine

Before December’s Australian PGA Championship, Scott had gone almost four years without a victory, which is a very long time for a Major winner and former world No1.

While that title would have been special in its own right as it is always fantastic to win on home soil, the Genesis Invitational is a different level and the ranking points are huge.

From being winless for four years he has now won consecutive tournaments and is back in the world’s top 10 for the first time since 2017.

Has Scott solved putting issues?

It’s been seven years since Scott won the Masters with a longer putter.

The club is legal, so it doesn’t take anything away from his achievements in my eyes, but it does suggest a frailty to his putting that may have held him back at times.

Do back-to-back wins mean he has solved that issue? Last week Scott was 27th of 68 players for strokes gained: putting, so it seems to be a work in progress.

But, at 39, he still has plenty of big wins left in him. Scott is in great shape and has spoken of wanting to make the most of that on the golf course while he still can.

Marc Leishman
Scott said he had been spurred on by the success of compatriots Marc Leishman (above) and Cameron Smith

We have already seen Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell return to winning ways this year and they are further past their physical peak than him.

Rather than viewing it as time running out, Scott may be taking it in his stride, thinking ‘I can still do this’ and drawing further confidence from that.

Scott was part of the International team that narrowly lost the Presidents Cup to Woods’s USA side late last year, and he has talked of that being a catalyst for his recent wins.

Seeing team-mates Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith win on the PGA Tour this year spurred him on, he said. They are fine players but, privately, Scott was probably thinking ‘how are they winning and I’m not?’.

Well, now he is, just weeks before he has a shot at a second Green Jacket. As a former Masters winner, he would certainly be among your fancied players now. With that swing, he can do anything.

McIlroy and Woods flatter to deceive

On his first outing since returning to world No1, Rory McIlroy shared the overnight lead with Scott and Matt Kuchar, only to fall off the pace on the front nine.

A triple-bogey at the fifth hole saw him drop four shots in two holes and he never really recovered from that. As ever, he still finished in the top five, but it wasn’t Rory’s week.

Tiger Woods
Woods was hosting the Genesis Invitational but could not capitalise on a blistering start

Tiger also had a mixed time. Having started like a train on Thursday, holing an eagle at the first and being four-under-par at the turn, it was mostly downhill from there.

Woods, who finished last of the players to make the cut on 11 over par, was the tournament host and that always takes up so much of your time.

With bigger prizes in his sights, I’m sure he’s not too bothered.

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