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Adam Scott not worried about anchor ban

Since Adam Scott is arguably the highest-profile player to be affected by the anchor ban, it's natural to wonder how it will affect his game. But Scott says others are more worried about it than he is. Scott Halleran/Getty Images

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Even as soft-spoken and mild-mannered as he often is, Adam Scott did not hold him back when the anchored putter debate became heated. He was clearly against changing the rule, and did not hide that fact.

Scott believed it was unfair to players who had grown up with a method that had never been under scrutiny. And he noted, quite convincingly, that an anchored putting stroke was far from a magic wand on the greens.

Exactly three years to the week, when the United States Golf Association and R&A first announced their plans to have a "comment period" on a new rule that would ban the practice, Scott remains among the highest-profile of the players it affects the most.

Yet as the anchoring ban is set to become official Jan. 1, Scott is seemingly dealing better with it than those who remain concerned about how he will fare.

"It's really not that big of a deal," Scott said Friday at the Hero World Challenge, where he shot a 2-under-par 70 in the second round to finish four strokes back of tournament leaders Jordan Spieth, Bill Haas and Jimmy Walker. "I'm often portrayed as a poor putter but I think that's a bit of a misconception. Yes, I putted poorly this year, but it's very hard to do well when putting as poorly as people might think."

Scott has called 2015 a "transition" year, one in which he's had to think about the putting change while also working on other aspects of his game.

The result has meant some poor performances by his standards and a drop to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, having been as low as 16th in October. Scott was No. 1 in the world as recently as summer 2014, but posted just three top-10 finishes this year and no top-5s.

Much of that can be attributed to putting, but not because Scott struggled using a short putter or a non-anchored stroke. He initially tried to make the switch when he returned to the tour in March after the birth of his daughter. But after only three tournaments, Scott switched back to the long putter, and had frustrating results, having one of his worst seasons in the strokes gained putting statistic where he ended up ranked 158th out of 184 golfers.

"I putted poorly this year with the long putter, which made everything quite frustrating when you do putt poorly for a long period of time," said Scott, who in 2013 became the first player using a long putter to win the Masters. "It makes the game very difficult. So I've putted nicely since putting with the short putter and that's having a positive effect on the rest of my game as well.

"Obviously when you know you're going to hole a few putts you can loosen up a bit and your chips are just that little bit better and your shots into the greens . . . You're not worried about just hitting the green, you can get a little more aggressive. You feel like you can handle whatever's out there when you're putting well. So I'm starting to feel a bit of that happening."

Scott has had some good finishes since going to a short putter in October at the Presidents Cup, where he first tried a left-hand low method before settling on a modified claw that he is still using now.

But it is also important to note that Scott's success has come in events not littered with top-name talent. A week after the President's Cup, he tied for seventh at the Japan Open. His runner-up finish to Justin Thomas at the CIMB Classic came against a strong PGA Tour field, but the following week at the WGC-HSBC Champions, Scott finished 70th.

He was fifth at the Australian Masters and second last week at the Australian Open. How he fares when his season resumes -- quite likely next month at the Sony Open -- will remain a talking point.

Scott could have packed it in then and stayed in Australia for the holidays, but he thought enough of Tiger Woods' tournament and the Albany development here, where he has a home, that he decided to come play this week -- even though he's headed back to Australia soon after.

When playing the PGA Tour, this is where Scott makes his home base, estimating he spends 15 weeks a year here. Other than Australia, he also has a home in Switzerland, while his wife has one in Sweden.

Without a weekend rally here, Scott will end the year without a worldwide victory for the first time since 2000 -- the year he turned pro. It's an impressive streak, one that has endured all manner of putting issues that have failed to keep him from being among the world's elite.

"Putting well is always nice no matter who you are," he said. "What's been nice is how well I have putted. I really have developed a belief and a philosophy about what I need to do to putt well, much more so than when I putted with the short putter before.

"I feel strongly about certain parts of putting for me, and I kind of made sure I tackled all those and took them off the list, and I think I'm going to be a better putter than I ever have before."