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Adam Scott is ready to pounce on Tiger Woods' No. 1 spot

Adam Scott admits he took his 2004 Players Championship win for granted but 10 years later is ready to pounce on a second title and jump to world No. 1.

As a 23-year-old, Scott tamed TPC Sawgrass to become the youngest winner in the event's history, a mark still standing, but rather than catapult him to a major contender, it just left him with a false sense of security.

While his game was still good enough to win another five US tour events in the next six years and get as high as world No. 3, he was never a contender at the majors, essentially because he didn't work hard enough and expected things to continue to come easily on talent alone.

''I probably, interestingly, took the wrong things out of winning the Players at a young age,'' Scott said. ''When things are going good, and you're 23, it's pretty easy to cruise along and you just expect to keep getting better, but to a point that's true.

''Except when you're talking about trying to get to a top-five player in the world and win the biggest tournaments and have your game withstand that kind of pressure. I don't think I had a very good understanding of exactly what I needed to do, to do that on a consistent basis. I showed up here and played great that week and it held up, but you can pick any other big event for the five years around that time, and I didn't.''

A decade on and now a major champion after putting in a plan to peak and concentrate on big events only, Scott said it was Tiger Woods who served as a role model. Woods dominated golf in the early part of the 2000s and then again from 2005-2010 when he spent a record 281 consecutive weeks as world No. 1.


In the same stretch Scott wasn't anywhere near as focused. ''I just didn't have the best plan in place,'' he said. ''I went through the motions and did all the practice, but maybe it wasn't intense enough, there wasn't a narrow enough focus on exactly what I had to do.

''And thinking back to that time, you've got a guy who was maybe the most dominant athlete in the world putting everything he has into it, and I just didn't have a great understanding, I think, of what was required to be at the best in your field at that point.''

Scott can make world No. 1 with a top-16 finish this week, contingent on the results of Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, as Woods continues to recover from back surgery.

In a quirk of the two-year rolling ranking system, had Scott stayed home and not played at Sawgrass he would have passed Woods. But he also would have been at the mercy of the other top players' results and had no say in the fight to stay at the top.

''See you later, guys. Good to see you,'' Scott joked when alerted to the fact. ''I'm here to win golf tournaments. That's been the goal, and from that you can get to No. 1 in the world if you win enough, often enough.

''I've had a couple [of] good chances this year already and haven't been able to pull it off, not because it's been weighing on my mind, but I just wasn't sharp enough playing the last couple rounds at a few events. Playing the Players means more to me than sitting at home just to get to a No. 1 world ranking.

''I think the work since the Masters has been good, and hopefully it's going to hold up this week. I would love to win this golf tournament and ascend to No. 1 that way.''