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Dutch golfers blast Olympic committee after being denied Paris spot despite meeting qualifications

Three Dutch golfers will be watching the 2024 Olympic Games from home despite qualifying for the Games after their Olympic committee said their world rankings suggest they would not have a realistic chance to compete. 

Joost Luiten, 38, is a six-time winner on the European Tour and has qualified for 21 majors in his career. He is currently ranked No. 147 in the world and No. 40 in the Olympic rankings. He met the qualifications to compete in Paris next month, but was told this week that he would not be going.

“I am very sad to say I wil not play the 2024 Olympics. The [Netherlands Olympic Committee/Dutch Sports Federation] wil not send me even though I have qualified by the international golf federations criteria and the Olympic criteria,” he wrote in a post on Instagram Tuesday.

“[The NOCNSF] have their own criteria (good chance to finish top 8) and they don’t think I have a chance to finish in the top 8 of The Olympics (60men field) even though over my 18 year professional career I have finished inside of the top 10 almost 20% of the time and those were 156 man fields. This was 25% in the 2023 season” 

He called the decision “mind bowling,” and blasted the Dutch Olympic committee as having “absolutely no clue about golf.”

The Netherlands Golf Federation said in a statement Tuesday it presented “extensive arguments and data” in a June 14 meeting with the Dutch committee, hopeful of showing unique differences in golf compared with other sports.

“According to them, it has not been demonstrated that there is a reasonable chance of a top-eight ranking during the Olympic Games,” the statement read. 

Darius Van Driel and women’s golfer Dewi Weber, who both qualified as well, were also denied a trip to Paris under the same rules. 

Darius Van Driel at golf tournament

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“No Olympics for Joost Luiten, Dewi Weber and myself although we qualified. The [NOCNSF] doesn’t have a clue about golf and it is a shame we’re suffering now,” Van Driel wrote in a post on social media.

“We’re not going because of political reasons. Mistakes were made by the [Netherlands Golf Federation] for agreeing with the absurd demands on the national qualifications. A sad day for Dutch golf.” 

“Our own country is saying we don’t think you’re worthy of being an Olympian, and you’re not worthy of representing the Netherlands,” Weber told Golf Digest Tuesday. “And that, honestly, that hurts. We even asked them, ‘Hey, is this about money? Like, we will pay for it ourselves. Our Federation will pay for it.’

“And they said no, we just don’t think you’re worth it going to the Olympics. That is such a hurtful and sad message to send to elite athletes like us who have proven, according to the IOC and IGF standards, that we are worthy of doing that and we want nothing more than to represent our country and do all the things that the Olympics are about.”

Dewi Weber at golf tournament

This marks the second straight Games that Dutch officials have denied golfers a place for ranking outside the top 100. 

Anne Van Dam, who is No. 108 in the women’s world ranking and No. 34 in the Olympic ranking, will be the only Dutch golfer. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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