CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Former world number one Adam Scott says he will be glued to television coverage of the Olympic Games in August, but does not plan to watch any of the golf.
Two weeks after announcing that he would skip the Rio Games, the first prominent player to do so, Scott on Wednesday spoke about his decision, saying he has not abandoned Australia and feels that he represents his nation every time he competes.
“I love watching the Olympics, the swimming and athletics (track and field), absolutely,” the 2013 Masters champion told Reuters, before adding that he would tune out the golf.
“I don’t need to see the same guys play four more rounds.”
That is the sort of comment golf’s ruling bodies no doubt hoped to avoid when they persuaded the International Olympic Committee to add the sport to the Games schedule for the first time since 1904.
South Africans Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, both of them former major winners, have followed Scott’s lead in skipping Rio.
Scott has long said he does not believe that golf belongs in the Olympics, at least not in an individual strokeplay format, so instead he will spend that week with his wife and young daughter in Europe, regaining his breath after a busy June-July schedule that includes three major championships in seven weeks.
The only Australian to win the Masters, Scott is not surprised that some have criticized his Olympic decision, but he believes that people who question his motives do not understand.
Australian swimming legend Dawn Fraser slammed Scott after his announcement for “not showing much for your country” and asked rhetorically, “How much money do you want in life?”.
In reply, Scott said: “I expected someone to not understand my position ... some people who know me a little better understand I don’t just do things for a reaction or no reason. There’s something behind it.”
At an earlier news conference on Wednesday, Scott spoke in greater detail about his Olympic decision.
“The tough part was to choose not to represent Australia, but I feel like I do that every week,” the 35-year-old said. “I’ve lived my life representing Australia and I’ve tried to do the best job I can of that.
“I’ll be back in Australia at the end of the year. I think I’m far from abandoning my country.”
Scott was speaking on the eve of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, where Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy is the defending champion.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes