'One-shot' Luiten causes Donald outburst at Tour
By Daniel Hicks ,AFPSHANGHAI -- Former world number one Luke Donald took aim at the European Tour's new rules after his partner played just one shot on the opening day of the BMW Masters on Thursday.
October 26, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Dutch Joost Luiten pulled out after his first shot due to a shoulder injury sustained during gym work earlier in the week.
He had decided not to withdraw beforehand due to new rules on the number of tournaments players need to have participated in to qualify for the DP World Championship in Dubai in November, Donald said.
Donald wrote on Twitter: “New Euro Tour rule this year states that you have to play at least 2 out 3 events before Race to Dubai (World Championship in Dubai) to be eligible ...”
“If that rule wasn't in effect then Joost would have withdrawn prior to event and 1st reserve would have got to play this weeks event. Can't blame Joost — new rule forced his hand.”
The Dutchman immediately headed back to the Netherlands for an MRI scan on his injury.
Luiten, who has not qualified for next week's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, was left with little choice if he still wanted the chance to compete at the final big money event in Dubai.
Only the top 60 players in Europe who have also played two out of the three preceding events will be eligible.
Luiten is currently 11th in the Race to Dubai standings and so is a certainty to play in Dubai — so long as he takes part in two events.
His one shot on Thursday meant he could tick off the BMW Masters as one of them.
Had he withdrawn before the start it would not have counted.
Should he still want to nurse his injured shoulder in Turkey in a fortnight's time there is the possibility he could turn up in Antalya and hit one shot again — and still play in Dubai.
The unlucky reserve this time was South Africa's Justin Walters who just missed out on automatically qualifying for the 78-man field, but traveled to Shanghai in case someone withdrew from the US$7 million event.
Luiten hit his tee shot “120 yards, straight down the middle” according to Donald, before shaking hands with his playing partners and disappearing to pack his bags.
The new rules are to ensure quality fields at the first three of the Race to Dubai's “Final Series” of events — two in Shanghai and one in Turkey — and not just for the season-ending US$8 million DP World Tour Championship which also offers a US$3.75m bonus pool for the top 10 in the Race To Dubai standings.
The European Tour said in a statement that players “must have participated in ... at least two of the preceding three tournaments in the Final Series.”