LIV Golf pro disappointed by Olympics qualifying protocol

“I think that's maybe a good call of maybe each country picking or trying to get their own solution on how they get the criteria.“

by Sead Dedovic
LIV Golf pro disappointed by Olympics qualifying protocol
© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Sport

Controversy over the Paris Olympics and the athletes selected continues. The qualification system is based on rankings after the US Open, allowing those with the highest rankings to compete. Some big names won't be there, like Bryson DeChambeau, visibly frustrated with this system. Despite winning the US Open and being in great form previously, the 30-year-old golfer won't compete in Paris. 

Nevertheless, he hopes the next Olympics will be a better fit for him. 

Days later, more golfers expressed dissatisfaction, including Branden Grace of LIV Golf. Ahead of another LIV Golf tournament, he voiced displeasure that his teammates Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester won't represent South Africa despite being in great form. He believes criteria should consider not just the past few months but recent performances as well as players' career achievements.

Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen© Getty Images Sport - Stephen Pond / Stringer

“In my opinion these are the two guys that should be representing South Africa out there this year, just by what they've won, what they've played, where they've played, how they've performed, and not just in the last five months, but probably the last year or so, if not longer.”- he said, as quoted by Golf Monthly.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Erik van Rooyen, PGA Tour golfers, have been given the opportunity to be part of the Olympics based on their world ranking. The fact that LIV Golfers are not eligible for ranking points has spoiled things for them, preventing many from participating in the Olympics. However, those who joined LIV Golf were aware that their decision could lead to such consequences. 

Grace continued to argue his point, believing that it would be beneficial if each country had specific qualification criteria. Grace criticizes the current system, considering it far from ideal. He emphasizes that these two LIV Golfers should have been part of the Olympics.

“I think that's maybe a good call of maybe each country picking or trying to get their own solution on how they get the criteria right for guys to qualify, things like that. It's definitely a way forward. But the system at this stage, that's not very accurate. We all know that. We all talk about it, week in and week out, but these should be the two guys probably representing South Africa out there.”- he continued.

Louis Oosthuizen expressed skepticism about golf being included in the Olympics. He mentioned that since he grew up considering the four Major tournaments as the pinnacle of golfing accomplishment, he finds it difficult to see how professional golfers participating in the Olympics align with that traditional view. 

Golf wasn't part of the Olympics for 112 years until it was reintroduced in 2016. However, from the very start, there was skepticism and aversion from individuals who weren't motivated to compete there. Eight years later, judging by reactions, things are quite different. Golfers dream of playing at the grand event and bringing home a medal for their country.

Oosthuizen obviously isn't one of them, considering that he still isn't inclined towards golfers playing at the Olympics.

Oosthuizen reflected on the fact that he had the opportunity to compete in one of the Olympics, where he had to withdraw in the end. The South African golfer recalls those moments when he was preparing for a Major, considering it his main focus. He points out that the Olympics didn't quite fit into his plans that year. 

Oosthuizen still believes it's a great honor to represent his country at such a major competition. Although he won't be competing there, he is neither bitter nor frustrated, hoping that the guys who will compete at the Olympics can give their best and represent South Africa in the best light. Patriotism is still above all for him.

Dean Burmester reacts

Dean Burmester is also someone who isn't particularly upset about not competing in the Olympics. Nevertheless, he wished good luck to those two great golfers, hoping they will make South Africans proud. These two PGA Tour golfers have been playing brilliantly lately and have earned their place on the team.

“Yeah, obviously Christiaan and Erik are going to do South Africa proud, and they've also played some great golf in their own right, which is something.“- he said.

He didn't hide that he would have loved to be part of the Olympic team, but unfortunately, things unfolded as they did, and now it's too late for regrets or any analysis. Oosthuizen and Burmester will certainly be watching their colleagues' performance at the Olympics, hoping they can achieve great results. It will be interesting to see how these two PGA Tour golfers perform and whether they can indeed make South Africans proud.

Liv Golf Olympics