London: Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery has chosen to play golf instead of attending the Tartan Week in New York as a guest of honour.
Connery, 80, has been a long-time supporter and honorary chairman of Dressed to Kilt, but he has backed out of the fashion show at the last minute.
The actor, who has been at the event in New York with his wife Micheline five times in the past seven years, was expected to be this year’s guest of honour.
He was expected to attend especially since his 15-year-old granddaughter Saskia, daughter of his stepson Stephane, would be modelling for the first time.
But his publicist, Nancy Seltzer, has admitted that he will not be attending, prompting fears that health problems are keeping him away.
Seltzer insists that the film icon is in perfect health and just prefers to play golf at home in the Bahamas.
"I’ve left word for Sean, who is on the golf course. He told me he wasn’t attending and had retired from public appearances," the Scotsman quoted her as saying when she was told organisers were expecting the actor.
"I will ask him again, but he’s feeling fine," she said.
She later said that she had spoken to Connery on the phone and that he had confirmed he would not be attending, though his wife will.
Since its launch in 2004, the annual Dressed to Kilt fundraiser has seen famous Scots such as Gerard Butler and Alan Cumming join professional models to show off cutting-edge tartan designs and clothing.
Dressed to Kilt organisers seemed perplexed by the last-minute change to the arrangement.
"Just earlier this week we had no doubt Sir Sean would be coming in his capacity as our honorary chairman," a source said.
"He was expected, but obviously something has happened to change this, which is a real disappointment. It’s a bit of a shock and, to be honest, strange that the guest list would be changing so late in the day.
"We got a call to tell us Sir Sean isn’t coming. Apparently, he’s on the golf course.
"He’s made no secret of his passion for Dressed to Kilt over the years and his name was definitely on the guest-list. It’s all a bit odd," the source added.