Scott wants to forget Open woes

Adam Scott begins the defence of his title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational convinced he can put his nightmare collapse at the Open Championship behind him.

Golf News: Adam Scott.

The Australian led by four only to drop shots on each of the final four holes to hand victory to his close friend Ernie Els at Royal Lytham and St Annes.

The 32-year-old said today he had felt "shocked and numb" afterwards but that he had "tons of messages and emails" showing understanding and support.

"I certainly didn't beat myself up and curl up in a corner," he said.

"The disappointment of Lytham shouldn't hold me back from taking advantage of the way I'm playing at the moment.

"I've been disappointed a lot of times at majors, even though I've never been closer to one maybe.

"There wasn't that much healing for me. I mean, my game is in really great shape, and I just took a few days to rest up, and I certainly analysed the last few holes a little bit and took out of it what I wanted and then just thought about how great I played."

No-one knows how he felt better than world number three Rory McIlroy, who is confident Scott can bounce back as both of them line up in a star-studded field at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

McIlroy went through a similar collapse when he led the 2011 US Masters by four shots going into the final day, only to post a disastrous eight-over-par 80.

But the Northern Irishman confounded his critics to come back two months later to win the US Open.

"I sent him a text straight after," said McIlroy. "I sort of felt like I knew how he was feeling.

"I just said to him, don't let the last four holes hide the fact that you played better than everyone else for the first 68."

McIlroy believes the experience of suffering such a painful defeat could ultimately equip the Australian to succeed on the biggest stage.

"At that moment in time you think it's the only chance you're ever going to get, and your whole world came crashing down," he said.

"But in reality Adam is such a great player that he's going to have plenty of chances to win more major championships."

McIlroy, 23, for whom victory could see him back at the top of the world rankings after a mediocre year, could only tie for 60th at the Open and turned up early in Ohio this week for practice in the lucrative tournament.

Leading the contenders in a field where both Americans and Europeans are keeping a close eye on the Ryder Cup places up for grabs is Tiger Woods, who has won here a remarkable seven times - with such regularity that it was dubbed Tiger's "testimonial".

A win could also see him regain his former world number one spot - if current leader Luke Donald finished worse than runner-up.

McIlroy, fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell and England's Justin Rose should all feel their Ryder Cup places are secure at the top of the table, with resurgent Scot Paul Lawrie only one result away from clinching a place.

But others including Sweden's Peter Hanson, Germany's Martin Kaymer and notably Sergio Garcia, who is in a borderline 10th place, will be looking for good showings to cement their claims.

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