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Emboldened Scott wants Sunday showdown with Tiger

ESPN staff
June 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Adam Scott feels more confident as a major champion © Getty Images
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Adam Scott believes he finally belongs at golf's top table after winning his first major championship earlier this year - and wants to take down Tiger Woods in the final round of the US Open this week.

Scott won the Masters in April to finally break into the winner's circle at one of golf's biggest events, having lost the Open Championship in heartbreaking circumstances at Royal Lytham last year.

As a result of his win at Augusta National the Australian has risen to No. 3 in the world rankings - landing him in a pairing with the two best players in the game, Woods and Rory McIlroy, for the first two rounds this week at Merion.

The last time he was in similar company was at Torrey Pines back in 2008, where he was the self-described "third wheel" alongside Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, as the USGA decided to put the game's three top-ranked players together for one of the first times at the event.

Scott admitted on Monday that he felt out of place in that three-ball five years ago, but does not feel the same way this week.

"I think anyone would have felt like the third wheel that week," Scott said. "The hype was enormous around that pairing. It was an experience that I'll never forget.

"This year obviously there's a lot of focus on Tiger and Rory. But I know what to expect out there, I think."

Scott would relish the prospect of being paired with Woods in the final round on Sunday, with both players vying for the trophy.

"Essentially that's what we're playing for," he noted. "That's a pairing you'd hope for on Sunday, because if you don't enjoy that kind of stuff it's going to be tough for you to have success out here - because at some point if you're playing well and winning a tournament you're going to have to try and beat him.

"That's what you want to be out here for. That's why you spend the hours and test yourself. And I'm looking forward to that Thursday and Friday."

Scott feels a weight has been lifted from his shoulders after finally achieving his long-held goal of winning a major, but admits he does not know how he will feel when he gets on the tee on Thursday.

Scott said. "I can't lie to you, I do feel a lot better coming here. It's a good feeling to come here to know that I've got my first major. And my sights are definitely set on trying to win more. But it is a nice feeling.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel playing for the first time in a major after having won, to see if there's less pressure or if I'm going to put more pressure on myself. For me it's a very exciting time in my career, where hopefully I can make the most of all the things that I've been working for and take advantage of the momentum of winning the Masters and that good form."

Heavy rain in the Philadelphia area looks set to ruin the USGA's plans for a hard, firm test at Merion - but it has also affected players' opportunities to practise on the course, with it closed and waterlogged for parts of Monday. Scott arrived on Friday but does not expect to have played the course more than twice before Thursday's first round.

Having played the course three times a few weeks ago, however, he believes those who previously took time out of their schedules to visit the course - including the likes of Woods, McIlroy and Graeme McDowell - may be at an advantage.

"So far it's been great - I've seen the inside of the clubhouse a lot and restaurants!," Scott joked. "I'm lucky I came up about three weeks ago and played a couple of rounds, so I have seen the course a fair bit. I've got a fairly good understanding.

"But I'm a big believer, especially for here, that you have to understand the course very well. You'd like to feel like you're a local going out there.

"There are a lot of blind shots off tees. The fairways move a lot where you can't see it. So you have to have a really good understanding, a good visual of what's out there when you can't see it."

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