ATLANTA - You know the book on Adam Scott: hypertalented golfer whose good looks and kickback attitude, combined with that whole lack-of-a-major thing, have led to the perception that he's squandered his potential, that he's one of the vast ranks of coulda-beens.
All of a sudden, though, he's looking like he might actually be onto something here this season.
Maybe it's the switch to the long putter, which everyone mocked incessantly until we all realized that people were starting to actually win with the damn things. Maybe it was the Masters, where he had an outside shot of winning golf's most august (ha!) tournament. Maybe it's the new caddy, the guy who was on the bag for 13 majors himself and thus knows a thing or two about winning in big situations.
However it happened, whatever the reason, Scott has had a turnaround season, and after a five-under round on Friday capped by two closing birdies, now stands atop the leaderboard, clear of KJ Choi by a stroke and Jason Day and Luke Donald by two. And -- look, we know you hate this stuff, but we have to do it -- if the FedEx Cup were determined right now, Scott would win the $10 million prize. All of the top 6 need to finish below a certain spot, and all of them are doing exactly that.
Of course, some players are being more helpful to Scott than others. Dustin Johnson, who entered at #2, is now at T26. Justin Rose, who entered at #3, is now at T28. Luke Donald, on the other hand, is right there within striking distance.
As it turned out, what worked best for Scott was a partner in crime, in this case Day, who also shot up the leaderboard. After the round, Scott allowed that having a playing partner making a move was a boost: "He was embarrassing me early on in the round, and I turned it and, and we kind of pulled each other through the back nine," he said. "We both probably want to win desperately this week. It's good to see us both playing well and pulling each other up to the top of the leaderboard."
We're only halfway home, but between Scott's ascension and Day 1 leader Keegan Bradley's sudden decline, it's clear that East Lake, and the FedEx Cup, are still very much in play.