Luiten's court victory to get into Olympic golf competition not recognized by IOC

Joost Luiten won the battle in a Dutch court to play in the Olympics. That wasn’t enough for the International Olympic Committee, which on Tuesday denied a request to add him to the field for men’s golf at the Paris Games.

Antony Scanlan, executive director of the International Golf Federation, said Tuesday afternoon the Dutch court ruling only directed its Olympic committee to send Luiten to the Olympics.

“When they entered him, we already had moved forward with the process,” Scanlan said. “What I had to do then was write to the IOC and ask for an exemption on the 60-player limit and allow 61 players.”

He said the IOC, which is not under jurisdiction by Dutch courts, did not feel compelled to add another player to the field.

The Dutch Olympic Committee decided not to send Luiten and Darius Van Driel, and Dewi Weber for the women’s competition, to the Paris Games because they felt their world ranking was too low for them to have a reasonable chance against 60-player fields.

The IGF lobbied on behalf of the Dutch, pointing out occasions when players ranked outside the top 100 in the world have won tournaments, even majors. Also noteworthy was Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia (silver) and C.T. Pan of Taiwan (bronze) winning medals in Japan while ranked well outside the top 100.

Luiten, also kept from playing at the Tokyo Olympics for the same reasoning, appealed last week to a Dutch court which ordered Dutch Olympic officials to include him. The ruling did not effect Van Driel and Weber.

By then, the IGF had already submitted its list of 60 men that included the two alternates behind Luiten and Van Driel — Joel Girrbach of Switzerland and Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland.

“The IGF was not a party to the legal action brought forth by Luiten in the Netherlands,” the IGF said in a statement Tuesday. “Nevertheless, in an effort to support Luiten, the IGF sought an exception from the IOC to increase the field size of the men’s Olympic golf competition from 60 to 61 competitors to include Luiten, however the request was denied by the IOC today.”

The IGF said it has informed Luiten of the IOC’s decision and that the Dutch player has not said if he intends to challenge it further.

One option might be to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which the IOC recognizes.

The men’s competition starts Aug. 1 at Le Golf National.


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