Los Angeles - Past Masters winners Adam Scott and Bubba
Watson see this week's US PGA Genesis Open at Riviera as a key tune-up for the
year's first major championship at Augusta National.
Watson, who took the green jacket in 2012 and 2014, is
defending champion at Riviera and also won in 2014 while Scott, who became the
first Australian to win the Masters in 2013, was Riviera runner-up to Watson
last year by a stroke.
"If I could get myself in contention in the next three
weeks, I would be really pleased with that," Scott said Wednesday.
"It's good to be playing well going to Augusta. It's better to have played
in contention and even better if you've won."
Watson, who has not won since last year at Riviera and slid
to 15th in the world rankings, said the sense of history at 91-year-old Riviera
excites him much the way it does at Augusta National for the Masters.
"Augusta has a lot of history and you get to see it
year after year, and if other majors would do that I think those majors would
be even better because the history adds up over time," Watson said.
"And at Augusta, I've got to live it, so when I get there I get goose
bumps and get excited about playing that course."
Seventh-ranked Scott followed up his second place last year
at Riviera with triumphs the next two weeks at the Honda Classic and the World
Golf Championships event at Doral and hopes for a similar charge this year.
"I'm very excited to start my season here and hopefully
kind of pick up where I left off last year, using that favourite golf course to
my advantage and hitting some good shots and good vibes and playing my way into
contention and then onto a good Florida swing," Scott said.
"You just start kind of building that momentum and if I
can work my way into contention, that's good for the confidence, too."
Scott will need it with the likes of world number one Jason
Day and sixth-ranked US star Jordan Spieth, fresh off a Pebble Beach victory
last week, to test him from now until the Masters on April 6-9.
"The standard of golf is very high," Scott said.
"If it's not Jordan one week, I bet you Jason's ready to get himself in
contention this week and then it will be the next guy and he'll lift his game.
So I'm going to be one of them trying to lift my game up and get in the mix and
go to Augusta with confidence.
"I've got a pretty short schedule to get that to
happen, I've got four events before Augusta so I had better get to it."
Scott took an unofficial victory at Riviera in 2005 when
torrential rains trimmed the event to only 36 holes.
"I think I've moved on," Scott said of the
non-win. "It is quite fascinating that I do have the trophy and the world
ranking points and everything else but it's not a win. But I'm determined to
get an official win here and hopefully it's this week."
Watson, who played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, supports the
Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Olympics, which would play golf at Riviera if the
International Olympic Committee approves the bid in September.
"It would be an amazing time if LA had it and it would
be an honour and a privilege to be part of the Olympics again," Watson