Johnson says leaving PGA for LIV cost him Ryder Cup spot

Two-time major winner Dustin Johnson says jumping from the PGA Tour to Saudi-backed LIV Golf cost him a spot on this year’s US Ryder Cup team.

Johnson, who went 5-0 for the Americans in a Ryder Cup rout of Europe two years ago at Whistling Straits, told the Palm Beach Post he felt he played well enough this year to earn a captain’s pick from Zach Johnson.

“If I would have been playing on (the PGA Tour), yeah, I would have made the team,” Johnson told the newspaper. “Do I think I can help the US team? Absolutely.”

Johnson, the 2016 US Open and 2020 Masters champion, won last year’s LIV Golf season crown. He won this year’s LIV Tulsa title in May but struggled in three of the four majors while placing 10th at the US Open.

“I would love to be a part of the team, but to be honest, I haven’t really played that well this year,” Johnson said.

“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.”

US captain Zach Johnson did select LIV’s Brooks Koepka for his American squad after his fifth major title in May at the PGA Championship and Masters runner-up effort, but who fell out of a guaranteed spot on the last day of qualifying.

“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 told the Post. “But just struggled a little bit in the majors this year, which happens.”

Johnson, 39, joined LIV for its opening event in June 2022 and won $35 million in the upstart circuit’s first campaign, but has managed only five top-10s in LIV events this year.

LIV players were banned from US PGA Tour events so the only time Johnson has faced top PGA rivals this year has been at majors.

Johnson has played on five US Ryder Cup teams, also helping a US triumph in 2016.

“When you have been a part of teams for the last 12-14 years, you want to be a part of it because they are great events,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he spoke to Zach Johnson at majors this year and told him of his desire to play on Zach’s team.

“I told him I’d love to be on the team,” Johnson said. “But like I said, I didn’t play quite well enough, especially not being on the tour, I needed to really play well.”

Asked if he had considered LIV players, Zach Johnson has said they had a chance and there was “a guy on the team” in Koepka who “had that opportunity and seized it.”

Dustin Johnson said he remains friends with about half of the team that lives near him in South Florida and would definitely be watching when they try to retain the trophy in Italy in two weeks. (AFP)