Dutch golf pros express frustration over Olympic exclusion

The Dutch Olympic Committee, apparently dissatisfied with the golfers' quality, decided not to grant them permission to compete.

by Sead Dedovic
Dutch golf pros express frustration over Olympic exclusion
© Octavio Passos/Getty Images Sport

The Dutch public was shocked after the Netherlands Olympic Committee denied Dutch golfers Darius Van Driel, Joost Luiten, and Dewi Weber the opportunity to compete in this year's Olympics in Paris. 

Golf, which returned to the Olympic calendar in 2016, generates immense interest among fans of the sport. 

However, the Dutch Olympic Committee, apparently dissatisfied with the golfers' quality, decided not to grant them permission to compete. 

They cited "no reasonable chance of a top eight ranking during the Olympic Games" as the reason. 

Joost Luiten was one of the first to react, expressing his frustration with the committee's decision on social media. He questions the criteria set by the Olympic Committee, accusing them of making wrong decisions.

"I am very sad to say I wil not play the 2024 Olympics," Joost Luiten wrote on social media.

"The @nocnsf [Netherlands Olympic Committee] wil not send me even though I have qualified by the international golf federations criteria and the Olympic criteria.

@nocnsf have there 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."

Joost Luiten, a 38-year-old golfer from Bleiswijk, currently competes on the European Tour, where he has achieved quite good results. In his career, he has secured six victories on the European Tour, the last at the NBO Oman Open in 2018. He believes that some individuals within the Olympic Committee do not understand golf. 

Additionally, Luiten feels that his country lacks understanding towards golf as a sport, given that greater attention is given to sports like football or cycling. Having the opportunity to compete in such a major event is every golfer's dream. Unfortunately for Joost, he will not be at this year's edition of the Olympic Games.

"It’s just mindblowing that they say I can not finish top 8 at the @olympics, @nocnsf have absolutely no clue about golf. 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."- he said.

Darius van Driel reacts

Darius van Driel, a 35-year-old golfer, also spoke out immediately after the announcement, disappointed that he and his colleagues won't be competing. He stresses that the Dutch Olympic Committee knows nothing about golf, and he emphasizes that it's shameful that they have to suffer the consequences of decisions made by such people. 

Van Driel thinks this decision is political. Additionally, he believes that the Dutch Golf Federation made a huge mistake by accepting demands on the national qualifications. Finally, he stated that this is a sad day for Dutch golf.

Darius van Driel
Darius van Driel© Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images Sport

Darius van Driel, a golfer from Leidschendam, is also part of the European Tour and started playing golf at 11. Darius has secured one victory on the European Tour, notably at the Magical Kenya Open this year. The 35-year-old golfer has also enjoyed success on the Challenge Tour, Alps Tour, and in tournaments in the Netherlands. This was a great opportunity for him to show his qualities on a big stage, but unfortunately, he will have to stay home. This is certainly frustrating for him, and it raises questions about what impact this will have on him.

Dewi Weber reacts

Dewi Weber, a professional golfer, believes that by this decision, the Netherlands has indicated that they as golfers are not worthy to be Olympians and represent the Netherlands. She emphasized that this is deeply hurtful. Interestingly, in many European countries, golf doesn't play such a significant role, and unfortunately, this leads to consequences like those in the Netherlands. 

Dewi Weber
Dewi Weber© Justin Casterline/Getty Images Sport

Such strange decisions will certainly impact Dutch golfers and potentially reduce their desire and hunger for success. When someone doesn't appreciate your hard work, effort, and achievements, it's difficult to remain motivated and believe in yourself.

We will see if the Dutch committee will say something more about this situation in the coming days, but they will certainly have to give a concrete explanation and explain to some why they decided to do this. While it's pretty clear why they made these moves, their decision won't be met with many positive reactions in Netherlands, at least not from golf fans there.