As the PGA TOUR prepares to resume, Adam Scott has completed a nine-hole shootout against an old mate’s son who in a short space of time has gone from fawning fan to star pupil.
Currently ranked No.6 in the world, Scott has chosen a cautious approach to when he will return to golf’s top echelon, instead preferring the more relaxed routine that has entailed games with old acquaintances throughout the Sunshine Coast.
One of those was at Maleny Golf Club against former Japan Golf Tour winner Wayne Perske, a match Scott dubbed ‘9 Holes With A Mate’ that he broadcast live on Instagram to his 228,000 followers.
Scott announced on Tuesday morning via his social media channels that he would be playing nine holes at Caloundra Golf Club on Wednesday afternoon against Bailey Arnott, a first year at Iowa State University and the son of Caloundra Head Professional Tom Arnott.
Three years Scott’s senior, Arnott would allow Scott to tag along in early morning matches as juniors at Royal Queensland and during this COVID-19-induced hiatus has seen first-hand Scott’s generous nature.
Not only has he taken 18-year-old Bailey under his wing with regular rounds and a one-on-one training session at his home, Scott has spent time at Caloundra visiting with juniors and conducting clinics as well as providing a boost to a club member doing it tough.
The junior club champion in 1995 and a hard-hitting all-rounder in local cricket, Craig Grant suffered a severe stroke five years ago that makes verbal communication impossible.
It hasn’t stopped him however from establishing the Craig Grant Junior Golf Fund to help pay for junior clinics at the club and Scott popped in with Arnott in part to boost his spirits, and also to say thanks.
“Craig had a massive stroke five years ago,” Arnott explains. “He’s got two daughters, used to play off 1 and 2 and still sponsors my junior program.
“He is in full-time care now and Adam and I turned up at his house and spent 45 minutes with him having a chat.
“He can’t talk but to see the look in his eyes… he knew who was there and what was going on.
“It was really special.
“When the whole COVID-19 stuff started happening Adam offered to come and wash carts for me.
“We had to put half the staff off but we had two-balls, members only, and you could not move out here. It was check-in from 6am until 4pm.
“He rang to see how I was going and genuinely cared about what was happening.
“As the COVID stuff started happening, he rang me to see whether Bailey had been able to get back from the US in time because he was going to offer to fly him out if he was still at college.
“That’s just the type of guy he is.”
Despite the generosity that has been on show throughout his extended stay at home, Scott has been less than giving in regular matches with his former junior sparring partner.
Arnott estimates that they have played together two or three times a week over the past two months and despite all his riches, Scott has no hesitation in putting out his hand at the end of a round.
“Everyone says how nice he is but they’ve obviously never played golf against him,” Arnott jokes.
“He took $5 off me the other day. I got it out of my wallet and said, ‘You want this don’t you?’ And he said yeah and pocketed it.
“He and I played against (Ladbrokes Legends Tour regulars) Brad Burns and Glenn Joyner the other day and they beat us 2&1. They came ready to play, don’t worry about that. I think I let the team down that day.”
As for the lasting legacy Scott’s visits will have on the club, Arnott has no doubt the juniors will talk about the time they got to spend with one of the best players in the world for many years to come.
“It creates a whole new vibe amongst the golf club because he has been out here quite a bit,” said Arnott.
“The kids look up to me as the PGA Professional but it goes to another level when they know you’re mates with Adam Scott.”