‘It’s just mindblowing’: Pro sounds off on Olympics snub

Joost Luiten in front of the Olympic Rings


Despite qualifying for the Olympics, Joost Luiten will not be representing his country in Paris at the 2024 Games — but not by choice.

Instead, the National Olympic Committee of the Netherlands Sports Federation is declining to send Luiten, the 148th-ranked golfer in the world and 40th-ranked player in the Olympic qualification standings, and two other golfers to the games because it doesn’t believe the three stand a chance of medaling.

Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press was the first to report that while four golfers, two male and two female players, qualified to represent the Netherlands in Paris based on marks set by the International Olympic Committee, only the LPGA and LET’s Anne van Dam will compete at Le Golf National.

The National Olympic Committee of the Netherlands Sports Federation is the only NOC to have extra qualifying rules for golfers in the Olympics. To represent the country at the games, you must either be a top 100 player in the world or earn a high finish in a sanctioned tournament in the run-up to the Olympics.

This stands in contrast to the IOC’s qualifying standard of taking the top two eligible players (and up to four if all in the top-15 in either the Official World Golf Ranking or Rolex Ranking) from each country until the fields are filled to 60 players for both men and women.

The 38-year-old Luiten hasn’t finished better than T11 in his 13 DP World Tour starts this season. Both he and Darius van Driel qualified to represent the Netherlands, but neither will do so. Nor will Dewi Weber in the women’s draw.

Luiten blasted his country’s Olympic committee on social media Wednesday morning after the news broke.

“It’s just mindblowing that they say I can not finish top 8 at the @olympics, @nocnsf have absolutely no clue about golf,” Luiten wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “Also they have changed the criteria’s in dec 2023, if they had those criteria’s from the start in june 2023 I would have qualified at 2 seperate events. That’s even more painfull to me! 

“I just don’t get it! Typically Holland, they only understand the typical dutch sports, clearly not golf. So sad and painful.”

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This is the second time Luiten has been the victim of these extra qualifications. He competed in the 2016 Rio Games, which was golf’s return to the Summer Olympics after more than 100 years when he was ranked in the top 60 of the OWGR. In 2021, Luiten was kept out of the 2020 Summer Olympics because he was ranked outside the top 200 in the world.

The NOC’s justification for the extra qualifications is that they filter out players who haven’t shown they can finish in the top-8 of the Olympic tournament and contend for a medal.

Ironically, Rory Sabbatini was ranked No. 161st when he fired a final-round 61 to claim Silver at the 2020 games and bronze medalist C.T. Pan was ranked 181st. Luiten and van Driel are expected to be replaced by Joel Girrbach from Switzerland and Tapio Pulkkanen from Finland, both of whom are ranked outside the OWGR top 350.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.



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