History is everywhere you look at Merion Golf Club.
From the wicker baskets adorning the hole markers to Ben Hogan’s iconic 1-iron — yes, the actual club is on display there — there is a virtual history lesson around every fairway and green. It’s there and it’s in your face, and don’t think that it’s lost on the current crop of golfers.
Adam Scott, fresh off his Masters victory, couldn’t help himself when he first visited Merion three weeks ago. Scott strolled right into the pro shop and bought a poster of Hogan, showing the legendary golfer right before he made par to force an 18-hole playoff at the 1950 U.S. Open at Merion.
“I’ll buy it [the Hogan poster] here, because then at least it’s from the place where he hit the 1-iron. It’s fun stuff like that,” said Scott, who plans to frame the photo and place above his desk. “I think most of us appreciate the history of the game and understand everything that’s happened before, and we all like doing that kind of stuff.”
Scott has been very selective in the tournaments he’s entered since winning at Augusta two months ago. Don’t worry, it’s all part of his plan. Scott has been practicing at home and keeping his mind focused on the majors, and the bigger world events on the golf schedule.
“I think the amount of things I do randomly with golf is very few,” Scott said. “Most of it is planned and purposeful. And four to five hour practice session is a nice amount of time. I feel I can get some good quality work done and I can keep my focus for that long, and I’m not wasting my time and I’m effective.”
Scott hasn’t been a fixture on the late-night talk show circuit, either. He’s been content to fly under the radar. Of course, that’s all about to change once Thursday’s championship round begins. Scott might be hearing flash bulbs in his sleep as he is paired with, arguably, golf’s two biggest stars, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
“I think this year obviously there’s a lot of focus on Tiger and Rory,” said Scott, who arrived in Philadelphia last Friday. “I know what to expect out there, I think. I don’t know that I’m probably also the third wheel this week, as well. That’s why I’m No. 3 in the world, otherwise I wouldn’t be the third wheel, I guess.”
Ask a local for advice
Adam Scott has studied Merion’s layout and yardage in recent weeks, totally immersing himself in every aspect of the famed course. However, he still felt the need to reach out to some local golfers, like Merion members Buddy Marucci and Gary van Arkle.
“Well, you’ve got to be careful not to talk to too many people, your head will be spinning,” Scott said Monday. “Buddy MaruccI, obviously is closely attached with the club here and he offered plenty of advice, and another member, Gary van Arkle, has been really forthcoming with any advice. And I just picked their brains a little bit a few weeks ago about stuff. And then processed that myself.