Top-ranked Adam Scott has never been a contender at the US Open, but the Australian star has confidence this is the week he finally puts himself in the title hunt.
The 2013 Masters champion will tee off Thursday afternoon in the 114th US Open at Pinehurst having missed the cut in six of 12 prior US Open starts with a top showing of 15th in 2012 at Olympic.
“Certainly I haven’t had the best record at the US Open. It’s hard to put a finger on a lot of it,” Scott said.
Scott, who plays the first two rounds alongside reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson and 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, has improved his game much of that time but never managed a breakthrough in what are considered the hardest conditions players face each season.
“I’ve done a good job, but maybe not quite as good at the US Open,” Scott said. “However, I felt at Olympic I played very well the last 60 holes or so after a really bad start Thursday. And the confidence grew last year. I battled a little bit.
“Maybe it’s coincidence that I haven’t had my best stuff at a US Open, but I certainly feel like where my game’s at now I should be able to compete here.
“So it’s a good week for me to kind of turn the corner and get in contention. This course sets up well to me.”
Scott comes into his first major as world number one with confidence after a win last month at Colonial in his first event after overtaking injury-hit Tiger Woods for the top spot.
“Winning at Colonial was a big feather in my cap,” Scott said. “It’s a much smaller golf course than we normally play on tour and to scale back and be precise off the tee with some irons and precise into the greens with wedges, that has been (the result of) a lot of hard work on my shorter clubs.
“I’m trying to build a game that can compete at any event.”
Scott compares the look of the layout to some sand-area courses in his native Queensland, and compared the many options offered on approaches and recoveries to those at Augusta National or Royal Melbourne.
“That’s what all those courses give you when you are just off the surface. You have options on how to play it,” Scott said. “They’re all very demanding, here maybe the most.
“These chipping areas provide you with a lot of different options on how to play a shot, so imagination is going to be a big thing.
“There are some areas which you really don’t want to find yourself and then there are some other areas which are fairly playable and you’ll get away with missing.
“Everyone is going to miss a few more greens this week than they’re used to, so they better be ready for that. And patience will be tested.”