But it wasn’t that easy for the US captain, and now a man who became the first American to go 5-0 in a single Ryder Cup competition in 42 years and has been a part of five US teams, will not be at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome later this month.
Dustin Johnson told the Palm Beach Post he wants to be part of the US Ryder Cup team. Although he admits he did not play “that well” in 2023, he does believe he played well enough to be a captain’s pick.
“I would love to be a part of the team,” DJ said. “But to be honest, I haven’t really played that well, this year. But have I played well enough to be on the team? Yeah. I didn’t have the best 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.
“Do I think I can help the US team? Absolutely.”
DJ, 39, joined the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour 16 months ago, signing for a reported $125 million. He then made more than $35 million in the next five months, winning LIV’s individual championship.
Since joining LIV the only PGA Tour events he has played are the majors.
Although he has five top 10s in 11 LIV events this year, what mattered to Zach Johnson was Dustin’s play in the majors. He finished tied for 10th at the U.S. Open, but he was T48 at the Masters, T55 at the PGA Championship and missed the cut at the British Open.
“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,” Dustin said. “But just struggled a little bit in the majors this year, which happens.”
DJ in company with Arnold Palmer, Gardner Dickinson, Larry Nelson
As the oldest member of the team two years ago, DJ was 5-0, leading the US to a dominating 19-9 victory over the Europeans. He joined Arnold Palmer (1967), Gardner Dickinson (1967) and Larry Nelson (1979) as the only players to go 5-0 in Ryder Cup history.
DJ also was a part of the 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018 teams.
“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,” DJ said.
Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson spoke at the majors this year and DJ let the captain know he wanted to be part of the team.
“We talked quite a good bit,” Dustin said. “He’s a good friend of mine. So yeah, we talked.
“I told him I’d love to be on the team. But like I said, I didn’t play quite well enough, especially not being on the Tour, I needed to really play well.”
Which is how his LIV cohort, Brooks Koepka, landed on the team. Koepka narrowly missed one of the six automatic qualifier spots, but Zach Johnson chose him as a captain’s pick. Koepka was runner-up at the Masters and won his fifth career major at the PGA Championship.
Zach Johnson was asked if he considered adding Dustin Johnson as a captain’s pick. He said other LIV golfers besides Koepka were discussed, but “that was quite a while back.”
“They had opportunity,” Zach said. “We have a guy on the team (in Koepka) that had that opportunity and seized it.”
Dustin Johnson is looking forward to watching, and rooting for, his “friends.” Five members of the US team – Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas – live in Palm Beach County.
“I’m still buddies with all the guys,” DJ said. “I see all of them, at least half the team lives down here in Jupiter.
“I’ll definitely watch them, for sure.”
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Dustin Johnson believes LIV Golf participation cost him Ryder Cup spot