MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Adam Scott reiterated on Wednesday that he’s no certainty to play at the Rio Olympics next year if he qualifies, and also was critical of organizers for not including a team event.
Scott, who begins play in the Australian Masters on Thursday at Huntingdale, is in line for Olympic selection alongside Jason Day in Australia’s men’s team when golf returns to the Olympics next August for the first time since 1904.
“I’ve been pretty open and outspoken that it’s not really a priority of my scheduling next year which is based around the majors, and if the Olympics fits in then it does,” Scott said Wednesday. “There is a gap in the schedule there … some time off looks quite good actually.”
Scott said he would have liked Olympic chiefs to “be a little more creative than a little 72-hole stroke-play event.”
“I’m not really sure how just having another golf tournament is going to enhance the game or grow the game more than any other tournament anywhere just because it’s the Olympics,” Scott said. “Certainly with the field criteria, it doesn’t necessarily get the strongest field in the game, either.
“Some kind of team event, even a mixed team event with the guys and the girls … I think that could have generated some real electricity,” he added. “That’s nothing to take away from the Olympics, but I’m just not sure that they have got it quite dialed in with the format and might have missed an opportunity there to do something pretty special for golf.”
IOC officials have said it’s possible a team event could be added to the golf program for 2020 in Tokyo.
Scott won the Australian Masters at nearby Kingston Heath in 2012 and at Royal Melbourne in 2013, but he’s lost in playoffs twice at Huntingdale – in 2002 and 2003.
The tournament was played at Huntingdale from its inception in 1979 to 2008, but first shifted to other courses in 2009, when Tiger Woods won at Kingston Heath.
“Personally I’ve had a couple of close calls here in the past and it’s fun to be back here with the challenge of trying to go one better,” Scott said.
Last week, Ernie Els, the other promoted drawcard at Huntingdale, pulled out of the tournament to spend more time with his family. Australian amateur Ben Eccles, who won last week’s New South Wales Open title, turned pro Wednesday and is also competing at Huntingdale.
The Masters is the start of the so-called Australian Triple Crown. The Australian Open, with defending champion Jordan Spieth and Scott in the field, is being played next week at The Australian in Sydney, followed by the Australian PGA at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast from Dec. 3-6.