CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Adam Scott considers Olympic golf to be an “exhibition” sport and is barely interested in competing at next year’s Rio Summer Games, the former world number one told Reuters.
In fact, the 2013 Masters champion sounds like he would much prefer to lie on the couch and watch Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps add to their gold medal totals in Brazil even though golf will make its first appearance at the Olympics since 1904.
“I’m not definitely ruling it out but certainly I’m not planning my schedule around playing the Olympics,” Scott told Reuters at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.
“I’m planning my schedule around playing majors the best I can. If I can fit going to the Olympics into that, it might be a bit of fun, then lucky me if I qualify.
“But if not, I’m not going to miss it, that’s for sure, and I’ll enjoy watching (the major Olympic sports).”
Scott believes the focus of the Olympics should be on sports where winning a gold medal is the pinnacle, not an afterthought. He thinks the addition of sports such as tennis and golf are unwarranted.
“Whether I win an Olympic medal or not is not going to define my career or change whether I’ve fulfilled my career,” he continued. “It’s nothing I’ve ever aspired to do and I don’t think I ever will. It’s all about the four majors and I think that’s the way it should stay for golf.
“To go and play an exhibition event down there to meet some athletes (in other sports) in the middle of the major season, I don’t think any other athletes in their sport would do that.”
Asked to clarify that he thought Olympic golf was an “exhibition,” Scott, 34, did not shy away from the question.
“Yes, I do, because I don’t believe a lot of sports belong there,” he said. “It’s gotten away from where it started.”
The 2016 Olympics will be held in August. To accommodate it, the year’s final major, the PGA Championship, has been moved to late July from its traditional date in the second week of August.
Scott is almost certain to be exempt for what is shaping up to be a two-man Australian Olympic men’s team. He currently is ranked 11th in the world. The only countryman ranked higher is number eight Jason Day. Third best is John Senden, ranked 48th.
Scott understands that some think having golf in the Olympics will help grow the game but taking the spotlight away from athletes who toil much of their careers in obscurity is not something he feels good about.
“Most of the athletes at the Olympics, probably have trained four years specifically to peak at this one event,” said Scott.
“It’s the pinnacle of their sport. ... They get one crack at their big thing every four years. They have put their life on hold for this event and it’s so important to them, and I feel it’s their time.
“(Golf) doesn’t need to be in the Olympics.”
Editing by Steve Keating