There will be no asterisk this time for Adam Scott at Riviera, a place he calls his favorite golf course.
There was no doubt on Sunday for the 39-year-old Australian as he stormed to the Genesis Invitational victory, his first PGA Tour win since the World Golf Championship at Doral in 2016. It was the 14th title of his career.
Scott had this title coming to him. Fifteen years ago, he won the event, then called the Nissan Open, but it was tainted because it went only two rounds thanks to terrible weather and it didn’t count as an official PGA Tour win.
In 2005, Scott and Chad Campbell were tied at 9-under after 36 holes, and settled the result on a one-hole playoff on the soggy 18th hole the Monday after. He got the $864,000 winner’s check, but not official credit for the win.
“You win and you’re told it’s not a win,” Scott joked on Saturday. “It was still fun … fun to take a trophy home and kind of be a champion here. All of that is just a bit of motivation for me to win [Sunday] and have an official victory at Riviera and the Genesis Open. That would be extremely satisfying for me.”
After Sunday, when he overcame Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar, with whom he was tied for the lead entering the final round, there was no “kind of” for Scott, whose world ranking elevated to No. 7 with the victory.
“It’s amazing,” Scott said. “I’ve loved this place since Day 1. It was tough out there today. I’m stoked for this. It’s a big step for me.”
It was a rough ride Sunday for many of the top players in world, including tournament-host Tiger Woods, who finished last among the 68 players who made the cut, at 11-over.
“Well, I did not do much well today,” Woods said. “Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways. But overall, I’m done.”
McIlroy, who along with Kuchar shared the 54-hole lead with Scott at 10-under, shot a 2-over 73 and doomed his chances with a triple bogey on No. 5.
“It was definitely the toughest day of the week,” McIlroy said. “The wind was up and hole locations were in tricky spots. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was, but everyone was finding it tough out there. Adam held on well at the end. The birdie on 17 sort of sealed the deal for him”
Indeed, when Scott birdied the par-5 17th hole, it gave him a two-shot cushion heading to the final hole, which he would par.
The runners-up were Sung Kang, Scott Brown and Kuchar, who had at least a share of the lead in all three rounds entering Sunday and shot a disappointing 1-over 72 Sunday.
“It was one hard day out there,” Kuchar said.
For everyone except Adam Scott.