Dutch Olympic officials will deny golfers from men’s competition in Paris

By | June 26, 2024

Dutch Olympic officials will not allow golfers to participate in men’s competition in Paris

Joost Luyten of the Netherlands poses with the Best Dutch Player award after the final round of the KLM Open at The International on June 23, 2024 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Octave

Dutch Olympic officials are keeping two players and a woman at home for the Paris golf competition because they believe their world rankings are too low to give them a realistic chance against a field of 60 players. The Dutch Golf Federation said Tuesday that it had presented “a number of arguments and data” at a June 14 meeting with the Dutch committee that oversees the Olympics in the hope of showing what sets golf apart from other sports.
“In their view, it has not been proven that there is a reasonable chance of finishing in the top eight at the Olympic Games,” the NGF said in a statement. The decision means that Joost Luyten and Darius Van Driel will not travel to Paris. It is the second Olympics in a row in which Dutch officials have banned golfers from their home countries for not being ranked in the world’s top 100. What’s most striking about the Dutch decision is what happened at the Tokyo Olympics: Rory Sabbatini qualified as 161st in the world and shot 61 in the final round to win the silver medal on a historic day for Slovak golf. Taiwan’s CT Pang won the bronze medal after beating seven players, including Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa, in a playoff. Pang is ranked 181st in the world. Olympic qualifications are based on the official world golf rankings. Countries are allowed two players – four if all are in the top 15 – until the 60-player field is filled. To qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, the Netherlands required athletes to be ranked in the top 100 in the world or the top 36 in the Olympic rankings. At the end of the qualifying rounds, Luiten was ranked 177th and Will Besseling was ranked 221st. This year, Luiten was ranked 40th in the Olympic rankings and 147th in the world rankings. Anne van Dam, ranked 108th in the world and 34th in the Olympic rankings, is the only Dutch golfer in the list. The Dutch Olympic Committee will not send Dewey Weber, ranked 302nd in the world.
Luiten, 38, is a six-time DP World Tour winner, has qualified for 21 events, including twice the Masters, and finished 71st in the Open last year. The Dutchman’s withdrawal means that Joel Girlbach of Switzerland (world No. 366) and Tapio Purkanen of Finland (world No. 378) will be selected from the reallocation list to fill in for the men’s players. Besseling, who was in a U.S. Open tie for 56th at the Country Club two summers ago, said he hoped Dutch officials would change the criteria. It’s a “stupid rule,” he said.

The International Golf Federation sent a detailed letter of support to Dutch golfers at their June 14 meeting, trying to explain that the margins in golf are so small that players far outside the top 100 can only win in any given week.

“Lower-ranked players usually exert a significant influence in major tournaments, calling into question their current status,” the IGF letter said. “There are plenty of examples of players ranked lower in the OWGR who have performed well in major tournaments.”

This year, seven players ranked outside the world’s top 100 events are worth full points for the FedEx Cup, earned on the PGA Tour. That list includes Nick Dunlap, who was still a college student and amateur when he won the American Express against a field that included Scottie Scheffler. The Dutch Committee (formerly the Dutch Olympic Committee/Dutch Sports Confederation) has adjusted the criteria for sending golfers to the 2024 Olympic Games. On the men’s side, players who are not in the top 27 of the Olympic rankings must finish in the top eight in a tournament, but only if that tournament has five players in the world’s top 50 or ten players in the top 100. Anything less would require a top-four finish.
The DP World Tour, where Luiten and van Driel play, rarely has so many players in the top 100 of the world rankings, and last year was heavily weighted towards the PGA Tour. Luiten has five top-20 finishes this year, including a tie for 14th at the Dubai Invitational, where Tommy Fleetwood beat McIlroy by one stroke.
Van Driel won his first DP World Tour title when he won the Magical Kenya Open in February. Only two players from the top 100 participated in this tournament.
Wednesday IGF
“The International Golf Federation (IGF) is extremely disappointed that three of our qualified athletes will not be able to participate in the Paris 2024 Games due to the decision of the Dutch Olympic Committee and Dutch Sports Federations (NOC*NSF) on Tuesday. “Dewi Weber, Joost Luten and Darius Van Driel have earned the right to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic golf competition thanks to their impressive performances.

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