Bryson DeChambeau's Olympic 'Snub' Is No Longer Up for Debate

DeChambeau is certainly deserving of a trip to Paris, writes Bob Harig, but the criteria to compete in the Olympics was set a long time ago. Plus, more U.S. Open notes.
DeChambeau is the new U.S. Open winner and one of the game's top showmen, but he won't be representing the U.S. in the upcoming Olympics.
DeChambeau is the new U.S. Open winner and one of the game's top showmen, but he won't be representing the U.S. in the upcoming Olympics. / John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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The U.S. Open was the final event for qualification for the Men’s Olympic Golf Tournament and Bryson DeChambeau won’t be one of the four members of the U.S. contingent in France.

That should not be a surprise. And it shouldn’t be an issue at this point, given where we are in the men’s game and all the drama that has surrounded it. Yet, oddly, NBC broached the subject during the third-round of the U.S. Open on Saturday near the end of the day.

“Because of the back and forth with the tours and the World Golf Rankings and all that stuff, there’s a special Olympic ranking list, as well,” Tirico said. “Bryson DeChambeau and the LIV guys aren’t a part of that. And that’s a disappointment. Because here’s a guy who’s finished three times in the majors—unless he has a disaster tomorrow—in the top 10. He should be representing the U.S.

“Of everything that has happened with the sport, there are unintended consequences that are hurting the game. And that’s another one of them.”

There’s no doubt about that. But this is nothing new and should have been presented as such. Brandel Chamblee, who has been a harsh critic of LIV Golf, pointed that out quickly, saying everyone knew the rules going in.

And while it’s quite likely that nobody was really giving the Olympics much thought when they made the decision to be part of LIV Golf, this was clearly going to be part of the fallout.

To be clear, the Olympic golf format has been in play since the sport was awarded Olympic status in 2009 to start in 2016.

The Olympic ranking Tirico referenced is straight off the Official World Golf Ranking. It was used then and it is being used now. The top two players from every country via the OWGR up to 60 players are eligible, with anyone in the top 15 automatically qualifying, with no more than four per country.

There is no avenue for players to be picked like at the Ryder Cup. It’s solely off the OWGR. Perhaps another way could or should be used but that is a different debate and what that wasn’t going to change in the last two years.

LIV Golf began in June 2022 and a month later it submitted its application for OWGR points. Players who compete for LIV were not going to get those points in the beginning and there was hope that in time their bid would be approved.

But it was rejected in October of last year with some pretty clear reasons given: a lack of relegation and promotion coupled with LIV’s closed format. It has been said here before that this issue can be resolved if both parties would work through the nuances of getting it right. Instead, LIV Golf withdrew its application—it never submitted a new one—in March.

LIV supporters maintain that the OWGR is not a viable ranking system if LIV players are not included. And certainly several of its players are not ranked properly, earning no points while competing on LIV. But it is the system that is used for major qualification and the Olympics, with no sign that it will change. It seems important for all parties to get this right.

“I would agree that it is unfortunate,’’ Chamblee said on the broadcast. “But all of the players that went to LIV, they well knew, they well knew that they were going to a tour that did not qualify for World Ranking points. They’ve made no concessions to gain those points by altering their format in such a way that they could.”

And here we are today still debating the topic.

There are LIV players who probably would have been in the U.S. Open if there were not this impasse. Joaquin Niemann is most certainly a top-60 player. Talor Gooch might be, too, depending on just how much weight LIV Golf events would be given. It makes no sense to not figure out some solution.

So DeChambeau won’t be going to France to represent the United States. He was slated to go to Japan in 2021 but contracted COVID-19 just before heading to Tokyo. He was replaced in the Olympic field by Patrick Reed.

Speaking of the Olympics ... and other notes

The U.S. contingent in Paris at Le Golf National will be Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark and Collin Morikawa. Patrick Cantlay had a chance to overtake Morikawa but needed a solo second finish at the U.S. Open. Corey Conners narrowly grabbed the second Canadian spot over Adam Hadwin and he will join Nick Taylor.

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry will represent Ireland; Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick will represent Great Britain. Among some of the other players competing for the three medals will be Ludvig Aberg, Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Matthieu Pavon, Sepp Straka, Jason Day, Tom Kim, Nicolai Hojgaard, Adrian Meronk, Joaquin Niemann and Abraham Ancer.

Rahm, Niemann, Meronk and Ancer are among the six LIV golfers in the field. The tournament begins on Aug. 1.

A few more things

  • Bryson DeChambeau returns to action this week at the LIV Golf Nashville event, the ninth of LIV’s 14 events. It's still unclear if Jon Rahm will be back from the foot infection that knocked him out of the U.S. Open.
  • The PGA Tour is expected to update the membership this week with regards to the ongoing negotiations with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, with some unconfirmed reports suggesting there is an agreement of some sort to be announced. If so, that would appear to be related to the investment structure as, so far, there has been no indication that any of the golf-related details of an alliance have been decided.
  • DeChambeau joined Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur and multiple U.S. Opens. He was the first player to shoot over par (71) in the final round and win since Graeme McDowell (74) at Pebble Beach in 2010. He became the fourth player since the start of 2020 to win multiple major championships, joining Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler.
  • Rory McIlroy became the first player to finish solo runner-up by a single shot in consecutive U.S. Opens. It was also McIlroy’s 21st top-10 finish in a major since winning his fourth at the 2014 PGA.
  • Xander Schauffele, with a tie for seventh, has eight consecutive top-15 finishes in the U.S. Open. ... Neal Shipley was low amateur at both the Masters and U.S. Open, the first to do so since Viktor Hovland in 2019. ... The U.S. Open has now gone 16 years without a playoff. The last was the Tiger Woods-Rocco Mediate playoff that went 19 holes in 2008. There has also been just one playoff in the last 28 majors—Justin Thomas’s victory over Will Zalatoris at the 2022 PGA.

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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior writer covering golf for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience on the beat, including 15 at ESPN. Harig is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, "DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods" and "Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry." He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Harig, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Fla.