Two-time Genesis Invitational champ Adam Scott wanted to play at Riviera so badly he wrote a letter

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Adam Scott didn’t want to miss the Genesis Invitational.

The tournament is conducted at Riviera Country Club, his favorite course on the PGA Tour, where he’s won twice and recorded seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts. But after finishing 72nd in last season’s FedEx Cup standings, Scott didn’t qualify for the limited field, signature event and so the former Masters champion and world No. 1 had to do something he’d never done before: he wrote to the tournament director, not to tournament host Tiger Woods, for a sponsor’s exemption into the 70-man field.

“I did it how I thought was right, but if writing to Tiger works, let me know,” he said.

Asked to recall the last time he had received a sponsor’s invite, the 43-year-old Aussie wracked his brain and came up empty.

“I probably have been invited to a tournament in Asia or something like that throughout the years, but on the Tour; it’s been a while, that’s for sure. … I’m of the view that these invitations are unrestricted to the sponsors and they can invite whoever they want and that’s up to them. So, I feel lucky that I’ve got one of them. If I didn’t, then, you know, I didn’t qualify. So that’s how it goes. I don’t expect to get invited to every tournament that I ask for either, but I am very happy to be here.”

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Riviera is where he won as a rookie in 2005 when the event was shortened to 36 holes due to rain. He considers how he plays at Riviera as an important barometer for how prepared his game is for the upcoming major season.

“If you played well here, you’re pretty much ready for any event,” he said. “It demanded good ball striking and for most of my career, I feel I’ve been in the category of a good ball striker. I think it’s really helpful if you’re hitting your irons well, because these greens are very, very, tricky and putting from a long way away is tough.”

Scott’s last victory on Tour came at Riviera in February 2020, shortly before COVID, which had a detrimental effect on his game. (He also won the Australian PGA in his most recent start before Riviera.)

Genesis Invitational 2020
Genesis Invitational 2020

Adam Scott shares a laugh with Tiger Woods after Scott won the 2020 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. (Photo: Ryan Kang/Associated Press)

“I think I was playing great at the time when I won and I think I was top-10 in the world and trending in a good direction,” he said. “I have found it tougher to get back. I’m not complaining, I mean every one faced difficulties, but I sit here and I feel good about my game today and hopefully I’m on the path back to some high-level golf.”

Scott, who is ranked 48th in the world, is set to make his third Tour start this season coming off a T-8 finish last week at the WM Phoenix Open to go with another top 10 in Dubai last month. He ended the year on a high note with a T-4 at the Australian Open, and a three-stroke victory at the Cathedral Invitational, which broke his 1,389-day winning drought. Riviera with its Kikuyu grass and eucalyptus trees that smell like Australia reminds him of home.

“Even the smells feel like I’m playing as a kid back at home,” he said. “I just have this certain level of comfort.”

Which sums up why Scott is grateful to be in the field once again. “I’m so thankful to be a sponsor’s invite this week” he said, “and get the chance to have another go around Riviera at the Genesis.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek