Dustin Johnson went 5-0-0 at the 2021 Whistling Straits Ryder Cup, where the Americans demolished the Europeans 19-9. He was the first American since Larry Nelson in 1979 to achieve that record.
Fast forward to the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy, and Johnson wasn’t one of the six captain’s picks. He didn’t have the points to qualify either. Despite being a part of five U.S. teams, captain Zach Johnson had to make the tough decision to leave Johnson off the team.
Johnson acknowledged his poor play in 2023 to the Palm Beach Post. Despite that, he didn’t mince words when talking about being left off Team USA.
“I would love to be a part of the team,” Johnson said. “But to be honest, I haven’t really played that well this year… Was it good enough to make the team? I think so. If I would have been playing on [the PGA Tour], yeah, I would have made the team.”
He could only earn Ryder Cup points by playing in the four majors. Those starts weren’t his best, either. The 2020 Masters champion’s best major finish was T10 at the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. He was T48 at the Masters, T55 at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship and missed the cut at the Open Championship.
“If I would have played a little better at the majors, I think I definitely would have had a really good chance to be on the team,” Johnson said. “But just struggled a little bit in the majors this year, which happens.”
For his LIV Golf season, he has five top 10s in 11 starts. Despite his lack of PGA Tour starts and poor performances on the biggest stages, Johnson’s confidence remains.
“Do I think I can help the U.S. team? Absolutely,” Johnson said. “When you’ve been a part of teams for the last 12-14 years, you want to be a part of it because they are great events.”
His fellow LIV golfer Brooks Koepka took advantage of the majors to convince Zach Johnson. He is the sole member of LIV Golf that will participate in the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.