Aust golf’s top two differ on Olympics

A year out from golf’s return to the Olympics, Adam Scott is refusing to rule out declining a Rio Games berth, calling it a “fun exhibition”.

Jason Day, on the other had, is champing at the bit for a crack at a gold medal.

Scott and Day are currently in line for selection as Australia’s men’s team when golf returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, with medals to be decided in 60-player, 72-hole stroke play events for men and women.

But Scott has little interest in playing for a gold medal during a crammed portion of the golf calendar.

“It is absolutely a possibility I won’t go as is not a priority in my schedule,” Scott said.

“It (an Olympic medal) is nothing I have ever dreamed of having and it really doesn’t have any significance for golf…

“I just don’t think it is the pinnacle of our sport, and it shouldn’t be, and to be honest it won’t be. The majors hold priority, they are the toughest test.

“It is not even a strong field down there so how can it be given that much importance?

“You are not seeing the best of the best. It will just be a fun exhibition for golf.”

The field will be based on world rankings on July 11, 2016, with all players within the top 15 eligible, but no more than four from any one country.

From there the 60 spots will be rounded out with a maximum two players per country for countries that don’t have more than two players in the top-15 – which is where Australia currently stands as Day (No.4) and Scott (No.11) are the only two inside the mark.

Brazil, as host nation, are guaranteed one place and currently the last man in the field would be Chile’s Mark Tullo, who is ranked 334th.

Scott made it clear he loves representing Australia but just feels golf in the Olympics should have been packaged differently and as such he may rest instead.

Golf’s Olympics inclusion has forced a reshuffle to the major championship schedule in 2016 with the British Open to be held July 14-17, the US PGA Championship moved forward to July 28-31 before the Olympics on August 11-14. Then the US PGA Tour playoffs begin August 25.

“I am honoured to represent Australia but I feel like I represent Australia every week I play out here on tour,” Scott said.

“I also feel like there are some athletes who only get their shot to medal every four years and that’s the pinnacle for their sport and I am not sure golf has a place there.

“If part of the reason is growing the game, I believe amateur golf in the Olympics would certainly inspire a lot of young people to play – and if you take it up early there is a good chance you are going to continue playing throughout your life.”

Day is also worried about the hectic schedule but has different desires and covets the Olympic gold.

“I am excited about it because the last time a golfer won a gold medal was 1904 so that’s a long time ago,” said Day.

“People train their whole lives to win a medal or just compete at the Olympic Games, so to win one would be amazing.

“Whenever you represent your country you are doing something great.

“If I look at my trophy case one day and see a gold medal and you’re talking about it with your son or your grandkids, that goes down in history forever.”

Should Scott decline to play, next man up for Australia is currently Marc Leishman at world No.30 but he also is far from champing at the bit.

“I would classify myself as somewhere in the middle,” said Leishman.

“I am not jumping out of my skin to play it but, having said that, it would be amazing to win a gold medal and I absolutely love representing my country.”

Other potential teammates for Day would be John Senden (world No.54), Steven Bowditch (No.63) and Matt Jones (No.72).

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