Former world number one Dustin Johnson says he won't play this year's Tokyo Olympics, citing scheduling reasons. — AFP/VNA Photo
LOS ANGELES — 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 Monday.
World number five Johnson, who by current rankings would be eligible for a place amongst the 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 targeting 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 honored to be an Olympian, the FedExCup 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 lengthy international trip just prior to their beginning." — AFP