Adam Scott has come under a lot of criticism for his decision to skip the 2016 Olympics, but Australian Olympic golf captain and noted golf commentator Ian Baker-Finch came to the defense of his countryman.
"Everyone is saying Adam's decision weakens the team and all of the negatives but, while we are sending a team to represent Australia, it is an individual event," Baker-Finch told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I don't think people realize that Adam is not letting anyone down. It's his decision and he's entitled to make it. I am disappointed he won't be with us but I totally understand his position."
Scott, the No. 7-ranked player in the world, announced he would skip the Olympics due to "other commitments, both personal and professional.
That decision has brought wide-ranging criticism, from Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and others in the golf community who see it as damaging the sport's image as it returns to the Olympics for the first time in more than 100 years, to fellow athletes including Australian gold medal swimmer Dawn Fraser, who took to Facebook to blast Scott's decision.
Scott cited his busy playing schedule and other commitments, and many believe the Zika virus also played a role. Baker-Finch added that the format may well have contributed to it as well.
Baker-Finch is the Australian team captain for the Olympics, but the format is based on individual play. Each country is allowed up to two players until the limit of 60 is reached, with the exception being countries with players ranked within the top 15 on July 11 can field up to four players.
"I think it will make them think about making it a team competition. I'd even love to see it as a mixed team even - that would be awesome," Baker-Finch told the newspaper.
Another coming to Scott's defense? Top-ranked countryman Jason Day, who does intend to play in Brazil.
"It hasn't been in the Olympics for 112 years so, for us, your career is pretty much based on how many majors you win and how many tournaments you win," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"For me personally, I'm looking forward to the challenge of trying to win a medal ... it would be a really, really fantastic honor to be able to win a gold medal or any medal at the Olympics."