MIAMI: World No.1 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, where 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South Africans Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Day’s Australian compatriot Adam Scott are among players who have withdrawn in recent weeks.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 28-year-old US PGA champion Day said he couldn’t 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,” Day 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 honor to be able to win a gold medal or any medal at the Olympics,” he added.
“To be able to go down there and try and win a gold medal and represent your country is a unique and massive honor.”
Day’s compatriot 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.
Day however said he had sympathy for players who had elected to miss the Olympics, acknowledging that majors were viewed as more important than medals.
“Your career is pretty much based on how many majors you win and how many tournaments you win,” Day said.
“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.”
While Rio remains a distant goal, in the short term, Day is concentrating on the challenges ahead at TPC Louisiana this weekend, where $1.26 million and 500 FedEx Cup points are on offer to the victor.
Day revealed that he is keen to extend his reign as world number one after spending nine weeks on top of the pile.
“I just want to get to 10 [weeks], and after that I want to get to 11 and after that I want to get to 12, and so on and so on,” Day said.
“I shared a text with Greg Norman earlier this year, and he said that he would love to see me pass him. I’m like ugh, that’s 330 something weeks at No. 1.
“That’s a very dominant career in my mind, and if I have the opportunity to do that, I know that’s going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of dedication to do that.”