Tournament director Trevor Herden has defended the depth of this week's Australian Open golf field after Adam Scott opted out of his national championship for the first time in a decade.
With American superstar Jordan Spieth commanding a $1 million appearance fee to defend his crown and Jason Day receiving a similar windfall for his return after a four-year hiatus, it appears there wasn't enough left in the coffers to lure Scott too.
The 2013 Masters champion and former world No1 has been a perennial contender for the past 10 years, hoisting the Stonehaven Cup in 2009, finishing runner-up twice and also recording two other top-five results.
His absence leaves Spieth, Day, Geoff Ogilvy and Canadian Mike Weir as the only four major winners in the 156-man field at The Australian GC in Sydney.
"There were some communications and discussions had and unfortunately we couldn't reach an agreement with Adam, so he's not playing," Herden said. "So it's unfortunate and I'm sure the fans would have loved to have seen him.
"But we've got Jason as well and we've got a good group of players and we should have an exciting tournament."
Making only his fifth appearance at the Open since finishing as leading amateur as a 17-year-old on debut in 2004, the US-based Day is effectively receiving the appearance money that Scott would normally pocket.
"I wouldn't think he'd have his nose out of joint, but we tried hard. There was offers made and they probably weren't good enough," Herden said.
"Adam's been a great supporter since 2008, 2009 and we've been a good supporter to Adam Scott."
Ogilvy agreed "it's a disappointing situation when Adam Scott's not playing the Australian Open" and also lamented Marc Leishman's absence as they were "two of the world's favourite golfers".