BRIDGING THE GAP
While the on-course numbers might not have been showing the maturity of Scott in earnest, UNLV was certainly filling up the experience meter.
The team, as defending national champions, was invited to a lot of big events and Knight was providing a very TOUR-like environment.
“The whole time was an incredible experience, and what Dwaine set up there in Las Vegas gave me a glimpse of what TOUR life would become because he organized boosters to donate their private jets to take us to tournaments in college,” Scott says.
“I mean, it was ridiculous. Shadow Creek was our home course and we had the run of the town’s golf basically. We could call up any golf course in Las Vegas and go and play and we were welcomed out there as a team. We had the best time playing the best tracks. It was great.”
Scott also got to tag along to a White House visit for the championship team where he met President Bill Clinton and enjoyed a game with the leader of the free world while still a teen.
“I saw President Clinton the other week at the  Presidents Cup, and he still remembers I played golf with him at the White House and in college,” Scott says.
“It was an incredible experience.”
Of course, Scott had also met and begun to work with Vegas resident Butch Harmon, the man who coached Tiger Woods during his early career dominance.
Seeing close hand what Woods was doing inspired Scott to make his move. And he was frankly over the academic demands college brings.
He wanted to be working as hard and often as Woods, not hitting study hall or the library.
“I was on a mission to become the best golfer in the world, and school wasn’t really on the radar at that point,” Scott says of his decision to leave UNLV early in his second year.
“But they had played a really good and important role and I have to give them a lot of credit because it was the adversity time in my life where as a 17-, 18-year-old, I had stepped out of being the biggest fish in the pond to a no one in another country, not knowing what’s going on and being very uncomfortable.
“Whether it was with golf or just daily life living on campus, it toughened me up a bit, and Dwaine and the other guys, Charley Hoffman, they all did. It was a good learning time for me, and that was exactly what it was meant to be.”
Of course, Knight and the team were sad to see Scott go, but they knew he was a talent that would be hard to hold back.
Hoffman was unhappy to see what he called “easy money” go from the card games the team would play on the road or in the team room.
Scott laughs off the teasing that he turned pro to make his own money after losing plenty of his dad’s cash to Hoffman at cards.
Basically, it was just time.
“We are so proud he was here. He told me one thing that was really interesting … he said, even though we speak the same language, one of the things he learned most about his time here was the cultural differences between our country and Australia, and that really helped him bridge that gap,” Knight says.
“Between that and the relationships he made here with teammates and Butch, relationships he’s had through his life, and his ongoing relationship with us, it’s…