April 20, 2016 / 4:36 AM / 3 years ago

Australia's Scott opts out of Olympics to focus on PGA Tour

Adam Scott hits his tee shot on the 3rd hole during the third round of the 2016 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Australian world number seven Adam Scott has confirmed he will skip the Rio Olympics in August, the 2013 Masters champion citing scheduling conflicts as the main reason for opting out of golf’s return to the Games after a 112-year absence.

“My decision has been taken as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics and other commitments, both personal and professional,” Scott said in a statement on Tuesday.

“I have informed the Australian team captain (Ian Baker-Finch) and relevant authorities, who are understanding of my position and I wish the Australian Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio.”

Baker-Finch had hoped Scott would put his indifference to competing at the Games to one side and form a powerful team with world number one Jason Day, who is expected to compete.

Marc Leishman is next in line to take Scott’s spot but the world number 34 said he would consider any potential threat posed by the Zika virus to the health of his wife Audrey, who has immune system issues, before deciding whether to compete.

Golf’s return at the Aug. 5-21 Olympics has been met with varying degrees of enthusiasm from its players and Fiji’s Vijay Singh, a three-time major winner, announced last week that Zika virus fears would prevent him from going to Brazil.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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