Dustin Johnson Says He Plans to Skip Tokyo Olympics, Will Focus on PGA Tour

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 13, 2021

Dustin Johnson watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the third round of the Workday Championship golf tournament, Feb. 27, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Pheland M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The No. 1 golfer in the world will not participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. 

Dustin Johnson told reporters in Florida he plans to skip the event in order to concentrate on the PGA Tour, leaving the United States without one of the biggest names in the sport for the rescheduled Olympics. 

"It's right in the middle of a big stretch of golf for me, so that was the reason I was kind of waffling on it a little bit,'' Johnson said Saturday. "It's a long way to travel, and I think the [World Golf Championship event] is the week right after it. The British is a couple weeks before. It's a lot of traveling at a time where it's important to feel like I'm focused playing on the PGA Tour.''

Johnson had taken a similar stance last year before the games were postponed.

Countries are eligible to send two golfers to the Olympics with an extra two slots available per nations with players ranked top-15 in the world. 

The United States still has 10 players ranked in the top 15 aside from Johnson—including standouts Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa. Norway's Viktor Hovland (No. 13), Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (No. 11), England's Tyrrell Hatton (No. 7) and Spain's Jon Rahm (No. 2) make up the rest of the top 15. 

The 2020 games in Tokyo—delayed a year because of the pandemic—is just the fourth time golf has been included at the Summer Olympics. It was added back as an event in 2016 and remains on track to take place in Japan at Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1.

Those dates will require plenty of travel for those PGA Tour stars who do intend to participate in the games. The Open Championship is slated for July 15-18 in England with the WGC St. Jude Invitational scheduled from August 5-8 in Memphis, Tennessee. 

It's too close of a call for Johnson, who will remain focused on his PGA Tour season this summer.

"I think if there was a little more time, especially if you weren't trying to fly right from Tokyo to Memphis and play the WGC, I definitely would have thought about it a lot more,'' Johnson said. "It was more a little more space between there, for sure.''

The American's comments come after three straight rounds of 70 or worse at The Players Championship this weekend, putting Johnson (even par) 11 strokes off the lead.