Golf: Day targets Olympic gold but understands why some rivals pulled out of Games

Jason Day watches on a the eighth hole during the final round of the 2016 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, on April 17, 2016.
Jason Day watches on a the eighth hole during the final round of the 2016 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links, on April 17, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI (AFP) - World No. 1 golfer Jason Day is relishing the prospect of trying to win an Olympic gold medal but has no problem with fellow professionals who have opted to skip the Games.

A lengthening list of golfers have ruled themselves out of consideration for the Rio de Janeiro games in August, when golf is returning after a 112-year absence.

South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Day's Australian compatriot Adam Scott are among players who have withdrawn in recent weeks.

But Day said he could not wait to head to Brazil to have a crack at Olympic glory.

"For me personally, I'm looking forward to the challenge of trying to win a medal," the 28-year-old US PGA champion told reporters as he prepared for Thursday's opening round in the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans. "It would be a really, really fantastic honour to be able to win a gold medal or any medal at the Olympics.

Scott faced stinging criticism in Australia for ruling himself out of the Olympics, with swimming legend Dawn Fraser among those taking aim at the golfer.

But Day had sympathy for players who had elected to miss the Olympics, acknowledging that Majors were viewed as more important than medals.

"You can't really get angry at golfers for trying to say that they're going to pull out of the Olympics - because it's never been on our radar to ever win a gold medal," he said.