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Back to work for sky-high Masters champion Scott

Adam Scott of Australia (L) celebrates winning the Masters with caddie Steve Williams (C) in front of Angel Cabrera of Argentina (R) on the
Adam Scott of Australia (L) celebrates winning the Masters with caddie Steve Williams (C) in front of Angel Cabrera of Argentina (R) on the

By Larry Fine

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) - Winning the Masters was the ultimate high for Australian Adam Scott.

But after taking a few weeks off to bask in the glow of a cherished accomplishment, the 32-year-old Scott said on Wednesday it was time to come down from cloud nine and build on his legacy at the Players Championship starting on Thursday.

"I've had a really nice break since the Masters, which I had planned anyway, but it was even better because I was floating around on the clouds the last three weeks," he said.

"It's been an overwhelming time for me, especially in the immediate period after winning the Masters. Just so many people reached out to me, I was blown away.

"That comes from everywhere, especially Australia, but over here as well."

His dramatic playoff victory over Argentina's Angel Cabrera produced his maiden major triumph, a breakthrough resonating all the more as it marked the first Masters won by an Australian.

Scott said he normally likes to take about a week off to decompress after a major, but this time added another week before returning to practice.

"The swing was still feeling good, and you get itchy feet and you're ready to get back out here and compete," said Scott, who won the prestigious Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass in 2004 as a 24-year-old.

"I hopefully can take my head out of the clouds and come back down to earth and play some good golf," added the Australian, who is grouped with world number two Rory McIlroy and Steve Stricker for the first two rounds.

"It could be the start of a great year for me out here on the tour."

With that in mind, world number three Scott decided to put off a trip back home to celebrate his Masters victory.

"I wanted to see my mom and my sister and my friends and also share in the celebrations with all the golf fans in Australia," he said. "It was an incredible response to winning. The Prime Minister of Australia called me. I was overwhelmed.

BIGGEST YEAR

"But we have a plan in place and it's hopefully not going to stop with the Masters. I want to keep focused while I can and try to make this my biggest year yet. I think we can rustle up some celebration when I get home at the end of the year."

A protege of Australian great Greg Norman, who came agonizingly close on several occasions to winning the Masters, Scott showed great promise early in his career but may just now be poised to fully realize that potential.

Scott rose up at Augusta National nine months after squandering a four-shot lead at the British Open with four holes to play through a string of four successive bogeys that allowed Ernie Els to seize the Claret Jug.

"Golf is a very fine line. I think we all know that," Scott said. "The difference between winning and not for the last couple of years for me has been balancing on a knife's edge.

"I felt last year like I could have won three of the majors with pivotal moments going my way or not, and I didn't win any of them.

"Overall the biggest difference for me is I've had a real belief in my ability that I can win big tournaments."

Scott said he did not think winning his first major would change his life, but recognized the impact his Masters win would have on his professional status.

"Maybe in the history books it is because you're written into that history book of winning a major and it will never be taken out of there," he added.

"For me, it's probably going to be the pinnacle of my career...as first Australian to win the Masters. But it's also not the end for me."

Scott said he does not still wake up thinking about his Masters triumph.

"But when I walk in the closet and I put the green jacket on every morning, I do," he said, laughing, though he admitted to having some postpartum pangs.

"I've missed it the last couple of days. It's the first couple of days I haven't had it with me. That's been a lot of fun just wearing it around the house."

(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Mark Lamport Stokes)

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