Adam Scott hopes his early arrival at Royal Lytham and St. Annes for the 2012 Open Championship will give him an advantage over his rivals this week. The Australian, who turned 32 on Monday, arrived in Lytham St Annes last Friday, and expects to have seven or eight practice rounds completed by the time the first round gets underway on Thursday.

“I had not played here once since 2001,” starts Scott, who played in the weekend at a major for the first time in the 2001 Open at Royal Lytham. “I was going to arrive even earlier this year, but the weather was so poor last week that I stayed at home in Switzerland a bit longer. I played here in the rain on Friday, and then played Saturday and Sunday.”

Scott played his early practice rounds in the company of coach and brother-in-law Brad Malone, and the pair went around virtually unnoticed.

“To play the Open Championship course when it is closed and when there is no-one around is an amazingly enjoyable experience. Playing the course when the grandstands are empty, you can start to imagine what the atmosphere is going to be like, and when there are no distractions you can really take in everything on the course that you need to see. You can play a few different shots and get a really good understanding of what the course is throwing at you.

“I feel that I will be starting the tournament a step in front, because I will have played as many practice rounds as anyone here, and so my comfort level and knowledge of the course is going to be very good. There will some shots where I will not even need to look at the yardage book, because I will just know what club to hit on a certain hole with a certain wind. That helps to give you the confidence to play the shot that you need.”

As for the rough at Royal Lytham that has already attracted so much attention this week, Scott makes no complaint.

“I feel really good about the golf course. The rough is severe but I think it is a fair test. If you spray one 10 or 15 yards into the rough you are going to be in a lot of trouble, but you just have to commit to hitting a good shot, even if you are just laying up with a five-iron off the tee.”

Scott tees off at 8:42 in the first round on Thursday, in the company of American Matt Kuchar and reigning British Amateur champion Alan Dunbar, from Northern Ireland.
If you ever wondered what Tour golfers get for their birthday, by the way, Scott’s dad gave him a retro golf bag on Monday.

“My dad has given me a really nice brown, leather golf bag,” says Scott, “the kind of bag that Bobby Jones would have carried around – and it came with matching, knitted headcovers. It is something I can use at home. It’s pretty neat and I like it a lot.”

Exclusive interview courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, patron of the 2012 Open Championship