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Adam Scott has questioned whether holding the Olympics this month is a “responsible decision”, insisting he has had no second thoughts on turning down a chance to go to Tokyo.
The former world No.1 golfer has never hidden his desire to prioritise majors over the Olympics, and announced in April he had withdrawn from playing in Tokyo to focus on his family.
But Scott, who has huge commercial appeal in Japan through his association with clothing giant Uniqlo, claimed another spike in COVID-19 cases in the Asian country had cast doubt on whether holding the Olympics is the right call.
A state of emergency has been declared in Tokyo until August 22 – the nation’s seven-day rolling average of positive cases sits above 2000 – and fans have been banned from attending competition to minimise the risk of the virus spread.
Australian athletes have been offered full vaccinations before travelling to Tokyo and will be required to leave the country within 48 hours of their event finishing.
Asked whether he had reconsidered his stance on the Games, Scott said: “Definitely no second thoughts.
Adam Scott has questioned whether it’s responsible for the Olympic Games to proceed in Tokyo.Credit:Getty Images
“It’s questionable whether it should go ahead, an event of that scale. Japan’s situation is not good at the moment. Certain parts of the world don’t understand the fear the Japanese are experiencing … they’re not as advanced as some other vaccination areas.
“You have to question whether it’s a responsible decision to go ahead. That’s not why I’m not going anyway: I’ve been home seven weeks this year and it’s hard to justify another week away.”
Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman will represent Australia in the men’s tournament in Tokyo, while Minjee Lee and Hannah Green will tee it up in the women’s event.
Scott was talking before he leads a large Australian contingent at this week’s British Open at Royal St George’s as he chases a first Claret Jug days after Ash Barty won the Wimbledon women’s singles title.
‘It’s questionable whether it should go ahead, an event of that scale. Japan’s situation is not good at the moment.’
Australia’s only US Masters winner will celebrate his 41st birthday during the tournament, which will be played under strict biosecurity protocols confining golfers to either their hotel rooms or the course. Any player who breaches the rules will be disqualified.
Scott has had five top-10 finishes at the British Open and famously surrendered a four-shot lead with four holes to play in the 2012 tournament.
“For me the Open now is – if we had to rank tournaments in love-to-win – it sits clearly at the top,” he said. “I felt like I had a hand on the Jug once and it was a good feeling while it lasted. I would like to have two on there.
“If there is one event I’d like to win before my career is out it would be the Open. I’m not really stacking the pressure on myself this week, but it would be a lovely story for an Aussie to follow in Greg [Norman’s] footsteps.
“To win Wimbledon, it’s like winning the Open or the Masters for a golfer. It’s incredibly significant. [Barty] played great and it would be fun to keep the Aussie theme going to take Wimbledon and the Open away from the UK.”
Scott will help spearhead the 11-strong Australian charge at Sandwich, Kent, which will include recent European Tour winners Lucas Herbert (Irish Open) and Min Woo Lee (Scottish Open). There are now eight Australians ranked inside the world’s top 70, led by Cameron Smith (28).
“Min Woo and Lucas are playing well, Cameron Smith seems to play well in big tournaments and Marc Leishman has come close in the Open as well,” Scott said.
“Given I’ve had good results in the Open over the years I’m very confident I can have one [practice] round [on Wednesday] and then get out there and put myself in contention throughout the week.”
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