Jack Nicklaus has blasted Adam Scott for his decision to turn his back on the chance to represent Australia at the 2016 Olympics.
World number seven Scott confirmed earlier this week that “an extremely busy playing schedule and other commitments, both personal and professional” had seen him take the decision to refuse to participate at the Rio de Janeiro showpiece, where golf returns to the Olympics after an 112-year absence.
Golfing great Nicklaus has questioned that decision, and says he is worried how golf’s future inclusion in the Games may come under threat by its top players not taking it seriously enough.
"I think that's sad,” he said. “I think it's sad for the Olympics and for the game of golf.
"What I'm concerned about is that golf has a little bit of momentum going right now.
"If the guys don't want to participate, then we might not be in the Olympics after this."
Scott has drawn criticism from other quarters too, including former two-time major winner Johnny Miller, who has accused the Australian of making a selfish and short-sighted decision.
"Playing for your country is a lot bigger than playing for yourself," Miller said.
"I would say I don't care how tired you are, and I wouldn't even care where you place in the tournament, but you need to be there to represent your country."
Current world number one and fellow Australian Jason Day has already signalled his intention to represent his country in Rio.