Adam Scott will not participate in the Olympic golf tournament this summer in Rio de Janeiro. He announced Tuesday that he has taken his name out of consideration to represent Australia in the Games.
Scott, 35, a two-time winner this year on the PGA Tour, has maintained for months that he was unsure if he would participate. He is the first highly ranked player to declare that he will not compete in the Games, which will see golf return for the first time since 1904.
“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 by his management company. “I have informed the Australian team captain and relevant authorities, who are understanding of my position, and I wish the Australian Olympic Team the very best of luck in Rio.”
The International Olympic Committee announced in 2009 that golf would be part of the Olympics in 2016, but the game’s various governing bodies and major championship leaders still faced scheduling issues that have The Open, the PGA Championship and the men’s Olympic golf tournament played over a five-week stretch. The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs begin just two weeks after the Olympic event.
Scott, ranked seventh in the world, would have joined fellow Aussie and world No. 1 Jason Day in the competition that will consist of 60 players, based on the Official World Golf Ranking.
The top 15 in the world are automatically eligible, with up to four players per country permitted. Beyond the top 15, only two per country will qualify. With Scott out, No. 34 Marc Leishman is the next highest-ranked Australian.
Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said Scott’s early decision would enable another medal contender to take his place.
“We’re obviously disappointed Adam will not play because he’s one of the best players in the world, but we understand his position,” Pitt said. “This means one of our other elite players will get the chance, and we’re more than happy that we will field a very strong team in Rio.”
Former No. 1 Vijay Singh, now ranked 219th in the world at age 53, said last week that he will not compete for Fiji in the Games.
Beginning the first week of May, possible Olympic golfers are subject to Olympic drug testing, which is more stringent than the random tests players are given on the PGA Tour. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency requires “whereabouts” tests, which mean players in the Olympic pool are subject to testing at any time. They also can be given blood tests, which the PGA Tour does not require at this time.