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Little fanfare, big game for Scott


BETHESDA -- Much of the hoopla at this week's Booz Allen Classic at Congressional Country Club has centered on a field that boasts four of the top five golfers in the world: Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen.

Adam Scott is ranked eighth and is the tournament's defending champion. At 6 feet, 170 pounds, he has the kind of good looks a Hollywood producer would drool over and the manners to sway any future father-in-law.

But the 24-year-old Australian has been getting little buzz from fans and the media. And that suits him just fine.

"I don't consider myself in their league," Scott said yesterday of the golfers ranked ahead of him. "I think I'm a major short and a lot of world ranking points short. ... Obviously, there's been a lot of talk about the top five players in the world this year. It's a good story. I'm happy to sit back, try to win a few tournaments and get myself up there as well."

Scott is no stranger to success. Since turning pro in 2000, he has won eight events worldwide -- including the 2004 Players Championship, which is regarded by some as golf's "fifth major" behind the U.S. Open, the British Open, the Masters and the PGA Championship and is 10th on the money list.

In 10 PGA Tour events this year, he has finished in the top 10 four times with one victory at the rain-shortened, 36-hole Nissan Open on Feb. 20 and only one missed cut. Last year, he placed in the top 10 four times in nine events but missed the cut four times.

With a swing eerily similar to Tiger Woods' (Scott is coached by Butch Harmon, who guided Woods earlier in his career) and a demeanor groomed after childhood idol Greg Norman, Scott would appear to have the tools to be the game's next big thing. But the lack of attention has befuddled some of his closest friends on the tour.

"Nowadays, people want to see major wins," said Charles Howell III, who finished second to Scott at last year's tournament. "I'm biased because I think Adam is a fantastic player. He won the Players Championship -- that's [very] near a major there. I don't know what keeps him out from being mentioned."

Some have suggested Scott lacks the resume of Woods, the touch-and-go prickliness of Singh, the silky-smooth swing of Els and the shot-making wizardry of Mickelson.

Others insist Scott's time is coming and could be accelerated if he wins a major soon.

Scott said he is intent on adding a major to his resume soonerrather than later.

"I said this maybe last week or something, but I'd like to win a major young and just get one away," he said. "I think that gives you the opportunity to have a career that may bring many majors. ... I think getting one away young is important. Otherwise, to leave it late, you might never know when it will come around."

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