LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Former world number one Dustin Johnson has become the first high-ranking golfer to withdraw from this year’s Olympic Games, with his agent citing a tight schedule for the withdrawal, reports said on Monday.
World number five Johnson, who by current rankings would be eligible for a place amongst the United States (US) squad for Tokyo, pulled out of the 2016 Olympics due to concerns over the Zika virus.
The 35-year-old’s decision to skip the Olympics comes as the sporting world grapples with turmoil from the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the cancellation of several high-profile events across the globe.
However Johnson’s agent David Winkle told ESPN that his client had opted to skip Tokyo because of the PGA Tour’s condensed tournament schedule.
“You just can’t do it all, given the newly compressed schedule,” Winkle told ESPN. “Dustin and others learned a lot about themselves and what works for them last year, so I applaud him for not overextending himself and keeping his personal priorities in line.”
Winkle said Johnson was instead targetting the lucrative FedEx Cup playoffs, which start 11 days after the Olympic golf tournament wraps up.
“Dustin gave the Olympics a great deal of thought and we discussed the pros and cons of him participating at length,” Winkle said in comments to Golfweek.
“At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference and priority. As much as he would be honoured to be an Olympian, the FedExCup Playoffs are also very important to him.