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Bryson DeChambeau missing Summer Olympics is right call for Paris Games

By admin Jun20,2024


Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort on June 13, 2024 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States plays his shot from the third tee during the first round of the 124th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort on June 13, 2024 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

When putting together the four golfers who will represent the United States in the Summer Olympics in Paris next month, technically it doesn’t matter if a golfer is playing on the PGA Tour, the LIV Tour, the DP World Tour or your local mini-tour events. The politics of the game at the moment don’t involve the International Olympic Committee or the International Golf Federation.

But if that is true, how could U.S. Open winner and PGA Championship runner-up Bryson DeChambeau not be on the U.S. team?

The answer is simple, but with a complicated backstory.

Indeed, DeChambeau will not be representing the United States in Paris. Instead, the four Americans will be Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, defending gold medalist from the Tokyo Games Xander Schauffele and 2023 U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark.

More: One year later, PGA Tour/PIF deal still not in place despite reports of progress

Those are the top four Americans in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, and the rankings this week determine which golfers will be part of the 60-player field in the Summer Olympics. One thing to remember is that no country is allowed more than four players on a team, thus allowing for more countries to be represented in the Games.

Here’s where the politics come in to play. DeChambeau is the fifth American in the OWGR, even though he is 10th overall. But DeChambeau has only earned ranking points in three tournaments this year — the Masters, the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. He only earned points in the four majors in 2023. That’s because DeChambeau can’t play in PGA Tour events because he’s playing instead on the LIV Tour.

Never had the points

LIV Tour events don’t award any OWGR points for players, something that has been true since the start of LIV in 2022. The OWGR folks have significant issues with how the LIV Tour fields are populated, how a player can qualify for that tour and how a player is kicked out of events when other players have been brought in to play. LIV golf officials have repeatedly decried the lack of ranking points, but LIV players never had a promise that such points were coming to their tour despite their protests. Nothing has changed in that regard.

So DeChambeau, suddenly a wildly popular player who inspired chants of “USA! USA! USA” at the U.S. Open last week, is out of the Olympics even though it’s easy to say he could easily replace Clark or even Cantlay on Team USA.

Whether that is fair or not isn’t really part of the debate, though. Some believe the rules have to change if players like DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka at the 2023 PGA Championship are winning major titles, proving their prowess during the buildup to the Olympics. Others believe that Koepka and DeChambeau have made their choice knowing that world ranking points weren’t likely to come to that tour anytime soon.

Based on the rules, or actually a few different sets of rules, DeChambeau is not an Olympian. What would be unfair would be rewriting the rules Sunday night because a popular player won Sunday afternoon. In that regard, DeChambeau missing the Olympics is the right thing for the Games.

Several questions remain beyond whether Team USA or the Olympic Games could have found a way to get DeChambeau into the Paris Games. In the grand scheme of things, does the Olympics measure up to any of men’s golf’s four majors? Or the Tour Champions or The Players Championship? It’s likely the two gold medals winners from the last two Olympics (Schauffele and Justin Rose) would tout the Olympics, but wouldn’t measure it up to the standard of their major championship victories.

Second, will this debate even matter in 2028 when the Games come to Los Angeles? If you believe the talk from players and officials, negotiations to reunite the game are ongoing and proceeding, though at a slow pace. It’s impossible to believe the split in golf will still exist in 2028 when another U.S. Olympic team is put together, so this might be the only Olympics hit by the PGA Tour/LIV debate.

There was plenty of talk when women’s basketball star Caitlyn Clark was left off this year’s U.S. women’s team for the Olympics, with critics saying it hurts the ability to grow the game and bring more viewers to the Olympics. But Clark’s omission was made by a selection committee. DeChambeau’s absence from Paris is because there were hard and fast rules and some math involved, and DeChambeau fell short under the rules.

It will be a little less interesting on the golf course in Paris without DeChambeau, but he was always a longshot to make the U.S. team, even with a U.S. Open title to his name.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Paris Olympics: Bryson DeChambeau missing Summer Games is correct call

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