PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. Adam Scott already has one PGA Tour trophy this year, just not a victory.
He emerged the winner of the wet and wild Nissan Open last month at Riviera, where it rained so much the tournament was reduced to 36 holes over five days. He ultimately won a one-hole playoff with Chad Campbell.
The tour now only recognizes tournaments of at least 54 holes.
''The check is still mine. The trophy I have, as well,'' Scott said. ''It's a strange deal.''
Scott agreed with the decision to not count it in the record book because he never had to face pressure on the back nine Sunday knowing the tournament was on the line. He wasn't emotionally spent.
Those are the feelings that come rushing back at The Players Championship.
He remembers staring at the island-green 17th with a two-shot lead that could have disappeared with one miss. He won't forget pulling a 6-iron into the water on the 18th hole, then needing to get up-and-down for bogey from 40 yards to hold off Padraig Harrington.
''The chip shot on 18 ... was the most pressure I've felt on any shot, probably ever,'' Scott said Tuesday.
Scott will try to become the first repeat winner at The Players Championship when it starts Thursday at the famed Stadium Course on the TPC at Sawgrass.
Not far from his mind is Augusta National, where the Masters will be played in two weeks.
The 25-year-old Aussie is regarded among the best of the young players, and he knows that a major championship will put him among the elite.
Scott believes he has the game to win a major and he has a trophy to prove it.
''I have no doubt in my mind that I've got the ability to win a major, and I think that comes mostly from winning this tournament last year,'' Scott said. ''This is as good a field as any major gets, and to come out on top gives you a lot of confidence.''
No one denies The Players Championship is the fifth major. The only problem is a Grand Slam has room for only four.
It will be played on the TPC at Sawgrass for the 24th consecutive year, and it already is among the most memorable courses from a television standpoint because of the significance of the tournament and its continuity at Sawgrass.
The 17th stands out as the most dramatic hole in golf because of the island green. The par-4 18th has water down the left side of the fairway, with deep rough to the right leaving no room for error off the tee.
And the field? Some argue it's the strongest and deepest on the PGA Tour.
Not only are the top five players in the same field for the first time this year Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen but The Players Championship has the top 50 in the world ranking.
''You play against the best players on this golf course under these type of conditions,'' Woods said. ''This is one heck of a test, so it's a bunch of fun for all of us.''
The test might not be particularly stiff this year.
Weather continues to be a theme on the PGA Tour this year. A week after no round ended on the same day until Sunday at the rain-delayed Bay Hill Invitational, practice rounds Tuesday were interrupted twice by rain, and players finally were chased off when it started pouring.
''We all know what it's like when it's really firm,'' Els said. ''It's different this year, and I don't think it's going to firm up at all. You have to hit in the fairway and take your chances from there.''
Els isn't sure The Players Championship favors anyone. It is not particularly long and the rough was slightly deeper at Bay Hill last week, although missing greens here is more of a problem.
But he wasn't surprised to see Scott win last year, becoming the youngest winner of The Players Championship. And the Big Easy expects Scott to hit greater heights.
''He's already got that confidence, winning big tournaments,'' Els said. ''He's definitely the best of the young players, him and Sergio (Garcia).
He's got a sound golf swing, and he looks like he's hungry to take it far.''
Scott says he's isn't playing as well as he was at this time a year ago, but few would argue with his results.
Even if the Nissan Open doesn't count.
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