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The teams for the men’s Olympic golf competition are set – and some people aren’t particularly happy about it.

Branden Grace, for example.

The LIV Golf man is unhappy that two of his Stinger GC colleagues – specifically Louis Oosthuizen and Dean Burmester – won’t be representing South Africa in Paris later this summer.

Instead, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Erik van Rooyen will be going for gold on behalf of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ courtesy of their positions on the Official World Golf Ranking. Bezuidenhout is currently world No.40 with van Rooyen at No.67.

According to Grace, however, the qualification system for the Games is flawed.

• Olympic Golf Rankings: Which players have qualified for the Games?

• 8 big names missing from the men’s Olympic golf field?

Referring to Oosthuizen and Burmester ahead of LIV Golf Houston this week, he said: “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.

“I think that maybe each country should pick or try 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.”

By being aligned to the LIV Golf League, world No.114 Burmester and No.138 Oosthuizen are ineligible for the world ranking points required to become an Olympian.

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Not that Oosthuizen himself is particularly bothered to be missing out.

“I grew up with the four majors being your main events,” he said. “I don’t really see the fit of professional golfers playing golf in the Olympics. I had the opportunity to go to one of the Olympics and I pulled out at the end.

“I think it would be a nice thing to have on your CV that you could have represented your country. I’ve represented my country in World Cup and in Presidents Cup before, but yeah, look, the system is what it is.

“I think we’re all higher up on the world ranking than we are right now, or we should be. But I hope the boys play well and that they perform well, and it’s still going to be a strong South African team playing.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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