World No.3 Adam Scott is keenly anticipating lining up at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro – but would prefer the event was restricted to amateurs. Scott said that the Olympics, which will showcase the top 64 professionals in the world, said the Games concept lent itself more to the participation of amateur players.
American Boo Weekly recently said the same.
“People watch us play 45 weeks a year,” Scott said. “If you really wanted to grow the game you’d have the Olympics for amateurs.”
He said he respected the Olympic ideal however and was keen to compete but still plans to build his schedule around the four grand slam events.
“Rio is not something I’ve thought a lot about, but it is something I have a desire to be part of,” Scott said. “I’m not going to change my focus … it will be on the four majors.
“The Olympics will not be my priority."
But he said whatever the status of the players, he hoped the return of golf to the Olympics would provide a major boost for the game globally.
“I do hope there is a good effect for golf. That is very important," he said.
And on another issue, Scott said he felt Australia was closer to hosting a full US PGA Tour event – or even a World Golf Championship tournament – in the near future.
He said the performance of Australians on the world tour had lifted the profile of golf for Australia, which had gained enormous exposure during events such as the President’s Cup and World Cup of Golf.
While Malaysia has managed to persuade organisers to include the country as a stop on the US PGA Tour and China has hosted a World Golf Championships series event, Scott believes bringing such an event to Australia is the logical next step.
"I’d be hopeful, and there was talk of it a few weeks ago, maybe getting a World Golf Championship down here as a permanent spot in Australia," he said.
"Something like that or something affiliated with the PGA Tour potentially would be great for the game down here and kind of solidify Australia’s importance to the game of golf because we’ve been a significant part of golf for a long time.
"You can certainly see the direction the PGA Tour’s moved … it’s in this region and I think it’s not that far-fetched to involve Australia in that."
Scott says players view Australia as an "exotic" destination and know the country has golf courses more than worthy of hosting big events.
"The guys have come down and seen the great courses that we have," he said.
"That plays a big part in the decision making of guys’ schedules. It does for me and I know some of the other guys too."
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the 2015 Emirates Australian Open will return to The Australian Golf Club.
Golf Australia chief executive officer Stephen Pitt said the decision to return to the 2014 host club had been an easy one after the huge success of November’s national championship.
“We are delighted to return to The Australian for what will be the 19th time it hosts the Emirates Australian Open,” Pitt said.
“The redesigned course was superbly prepared and well received by both players and fans.
“The overwhelming feedback we’ve had from players and sponsors is that they’ll be delighted to go back in 2015, so we’re thrilled to be able to make that happen.”
By: Robert Grant