By Nick Schwartz
Adam Scott became the latest (but almost certainly not the last) high-profile golfer to pull out of the Olympics this week, announcing that he plans to proritize his professional commitments instead of playing in the first Olympic golf tournament since 1904. Australia had been expected to field a team of world No. 1 Jason Day (who is still expected to play) along with No. 7 Scott, but the 2013 Masters champion confirmed what he had been warning since last year.
"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."
Jack Nicklaus diplomatically said that he believes Scott's decision was "sad for the Olympics and the game of golf," one of Scott's compatriots offered a far harsher reponse to the news.
Dawn Fraser is an Australian Olympic icon, and won four gold medals and eight total medals over three Games. Fraser won three consecutive golds swimming the 100-meter freestyle in 1956, 1960 and 1964, and 1962 was the first woman to break the one-minute barrier in the 100-meter.
In a post on Facebook Thursday, Fraser ripped Scott for putting money in front of playing for his country.
Australian long jumper David Culbert was also critical of Scott, and said he may regret passing up the oppotunity later in his career.
"I actually think it's his loss because to be an Olympian is something special and it's forever," Culbert said. "I don't think you truly appreciate it until a long time after it's happened."
These type of reactions from athletes who once competed at the very pinnacle of their sport illustrates why golf probably should have never made it back to the Olympics. For Culbert and Fraser, winning an Olympic medal was the ultimate reward. For Scott, it's a small-scale tournament (60 players total will qualify, and the way the field is drawn the 366th ranked player in the world is in line to earn an invite) with no history that requires a trip to South America in the middle of his season.