(Reuters) - Masters champion Adam Scott goes into this week’s $5.7 million Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Hawaiian island of Maui hoping to maintain an extraordinary run of momentum that capped a breakthrough 2013 season.
Having won his first major title in gripping fashion at a rain-soaked Augusta National in April, the Australian ended the year with two wins, a runner-up spot and a third placing in the land of his birth to cement his status as the world number two.
That astonishing run, which very nearly earned him only the second ‘triple crown’ of wins in Australia, helped Scott edge out world number one Tiger Woods as Player of the Year on Thursday in voting by the Golf Writers Association of America.
“I’ve had a great run and hopefully I‘m going to keep it going this year,” Scott, 33, told Golf Channel while preparing for Friday’s opening round at the Kapalua Resort where he will tee off along with defending champion Dustin Johnson.
“I feel like this is my time to achieve what I want out of the game so I’ve got to keep the momentum going because it’s hard to find when you don’t have it. While you’ve got it, you’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Asked to pinpoint the main reason for his stunning form during 2013, Scott replied: ”It’s hard to put it done to one thing. I think it’s probably more an accumulation of a couple of years of working on the right things in my game.
“And then it’s all about executing it and just believing a little more in everything I‘m doing and letting it happen under pressure.”
Nine months ago, Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters, beating Argentina’s Angel Cabrera in a playoff of high emotion and excellent sportsmanship, then followed up by claiming a FedExCup playoff victory at The Barclays in August.
He ended the season by winning the Australian PGA and the Australian Masters, teamed up with Jason Day to land the team event at the World Cup and was second in the Australian Open.
Asked how he managed to deal with the heightened media scrutiny, both in United States and at home in Australia, Scott replied: ”There are some adjustments to be made but so far it’s only all been good stuff.
”It’s not hard to receive these things. They are great honors I’ve been given and I‘m really lucky to get that. I’ve just tried to enjoy it the most I can. I was so excited just to go back to Australia.
“My friends and family were so excited to see me, and then to see how much everyone else embraced me winning the Masters and to share that kind of excitement and to hear the stories of how they celebrated was great.”
In pursuit of an 11th victory on the PGA Tour, Scott will have to contend with an elite, winners-only field of 30 which includes PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner and fellow U.S. Ryder Cup players Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson.
However, there are five notable absentees from those qualified to compete this week at Kapalua - Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell.
Long-hitting Dustin Johnson will defend the title he won by three shots last year in a tournament reduced to three rounds and forced to a rare Tuesday finish because of relentless howling winds at the Kapalua Resort.
Long established as the opening event on the PGA Tour, this week’s edition is the seventh in the new ‘wrap-around’ season for 2013-14.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury