Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson
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Dustin Johnson, world No. 5 golfer, reconsiders Olympic stance

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Dustin Johnson, who had ruled out playing in the Olymipcs in 2020, will reconsider playing the Olympics in 2021, should the PGA Tour schedule be more accommodating to flying to Tokyo in between top-flight summer tournaments.

Johnson opened the door in comments Wednesday, three months after taking himself out of contention for a 2020 Olympic spot due to scheduling. Much changed in the time in between, namely the coronavirus pandemic postponing the Tokyo Games to summer 2021.

“Obviously, I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics. Never really thought golf would be in it,” Johnson said. “It’s something that, yeah, I’ll definitely have to consider.”

The 2021 PGA Tour schedule has not been released.

Back in March, Johnson ruled out the 2020 Olympics, citing focus on the FedEx Cup Playoffs that would have started two weeks after the Olympic tournament in August.

“Dustin gave the Olympics a great deal of thought, and we discussed the pros and cons of him participating at length,” Johnson’s manager said in a March email, according to Golfweek. “At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference and priority. As much as he would be honored to be an Olympian, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are also very important to him. Having had a few close calls in the Playoffs, he really wants to win them before his time is done and feels that he wouldn’t be giving himself the best opportunity to do so if he added a lengthy international trip just prior to their beginning (and shortly after returning from two weeks in Europe).”

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner and world No. 1 in 2017 and 2018, is the third-highest ranked American at the moment behind Brooks Koepka (who also spoke about the Olympics in January, saying it’s not as important as majors) and Justin Thomas.

The top four Americans in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) after the U.S. Open in June 2021 are in line to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. In Olympic qualifying standings, Johnson ranks 15th among Americans, according to rankings guru @VC606 on Twitter.

Johnson’s win at the February 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship and runners-up at the April 2019 Masters and May 2019 PGA Championship (his last top-five finish anywhere) count for more in the current OWGR than in Olympic qualifying.

Johnson did qualify for the Rio Olympics but withdrew a month before the Games, citing Zika virus concerns as other golfers did.

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Dustin Johnson, world No. 5 golfer, will not play Olympics

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Dustin Johnson, the world’s fifth-ranked golfer, will not play in the Olympics should he qualify.

“Dustin gave the Olympics a great deal of thought, and we discussed the pros and cons of him participating at length,” Johnson’s manager said in an email, according to Golfweek. “At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference and priority. As much as he would be honored to be an Olympian, the FedEx Cup Playoffs are also very important to him. Having had a few close calls in the Playoffs, he really wants to win them before his time is done and feels that he wouldn’t be giving himself the best opportunity to do so if he added a lengthy international trip just prior to their beginning (and shortly after returning from two weeks in Europe).”

The Tokyo Olympic men’s golf tournament is July 30-Aug. 2, two weeks after the Open Championship. The FedEx Cup Playoffs begin Aug. 16.

Johnson previously said in January that he wasn’t sure the Olympics would fit well into his schedule.

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner and world No. 1 in 2017 and 2018, is the third-highest ranked American at the moment behind Brooks Koepka (who also spoke about the Olympics in January, saying it’s not as important as majors) and Justin Thomas.

The top four Americans in the Official World Golf Ranking after the U.S. Open in June are in line to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Though Johnson is currently the third American in the world rankings, he was as of last week the No. 7 American in projected Olympic qualifying standings, according to rankings guru @VC606 on Twitter.

Projected Olympic qualifying standings differ from the current world rankings, in part because they take into account only tournaments after the 2018 U.S. Open. Therefore, Johnson’s win at the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic is part of his current world ranking score (albeit not a large part as more recent results are weighted the most in a two-year rolling window) but not his Olympic qualifying score.

Johnson’s absence presents one fewer golfer for Tiger Woods to pass to get into the U.S. top four. Woods is ranked 11th in the world and seventh among Americans. Given Woods’ limited schedule, he must maximize the tournaments he does play to boost his Olympic qualifying chances.

He may need to win one of the remaining top-tier tournaments — The PLAYERS Championship next week, the Masters in April, the PGA Championship in May or the U.S. Open in June.

Johnson did qualify for the Rio Olympics but withdrew a month before the Games, citing Zika virus concerns as other golfers did.

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Dustin Johnson wonders if Olympic golf will properly fit into his schedule

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Dustin Johnson, the world’s fifth-ranked golfer, said he isn’t sure the Tokyo Olympics will fit well into his schedule, assuming he qualifies for what will be a very competitive U.S. team of four.

“Obviously representing the United States in the Olympics is something that, you know, definitely be proud to do,” he said when asked if the Ryder Cup and the Olympics are goals this year. “But is it going to fit in the schedule properly? I’m not really sure about that, because there’s so many events that are right there and leading up to it. So you know, I’m still working with my team to figure out what’s the best thing for me to do.”

Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open winner and world No. 1 in 2017 and 2018, is the third-highest ranked American at the moment behind Brooks Koepka (who also spoke about the Olympics on Tuesday, saying they’re not as important as majors) and Justin Thomas.

Johnson is ranked one spot ahead of Tiger Woods, who has voiced intent to play in Tokyo should he qualify.

But the current world rankings, based on a two-year, rolling window of results, do not exactly mirror Olympic qualifying, which takes into account only results after the 2018 U.S. Open. Rankings guru @VC606 on Twitter has Thomas, Koepka, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay as the current U.S. top four in Olympic qualifying. Woods is fifth and Johnson seventh.

The cutoff to determine the Olympic field of 60 golfers overall is after the U.S. Open in June.

The Olympic golf tournament is July 30-Aug. 2. There is no PGA Tour event that weekend. The FedEx Cup Playoffs start two weeks after the Olympics. Last season, Johnson did not play the tournaments that will immediately precede and follow the Olympics — the 3M Open and the Wyndham Championship.

Johnson did qualify for the Rio Olympics but withdrew a month before the Games, citing Zika virus concerns as other golfers did.

“This was not an easy decision for me, but my concerns about the Zika virus cannot be ignored,” Johnson said in a statement at the time. “[Wife] Paulina and I plan to have more children in the near future, and I feel it would be irresponsible to put myself, her or our family at risk.”

Paulina gave birth to their second son in June 2017.

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