Dustin Johnson believes he would be on the United States Ryder Cup team if he was still competing on the PGA Tour.
The two-time major winner told the Palm Beach Post that he understood why he wasn’t on the team because he now competes on the LIV Golf tour. But he said he thinks he played well enough to be a part of the 12-man team heading to Rome to face off against Europe.
“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.”
Johnson, 39, has been a part of five Ryder Cup teams and was the team’s best player in 2021 at Whistling Straits. Johnson played in all five events at the Ryder Cup and went 5-0 in his matches. He was the first American player in over 40 years to win all five matches.
Brooks Koepka was the only player from LIV Golf picked to the team by captain Zach Johnson. It was virtually impossible for any LIV Golf player to be one of the six automatic qualifiers for the team based on the points format and Koepka won the PGA Championship after finishing second at the Masters in April.
In addition to Koepka, the other five captain’s picks were Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. After beating Europe on home soil in 2021, the United States is looking to win in Europe for the first time since a 15-13 win in 1993.
Thomas has played poorly in 2023 but made the team on the strength of his past performances at Ryder Cups and his partnership with Spieth in foursomes and four-ball matches. Had Johnson remained on the PGA Tour, there would have been little debate about his worthiness of a captain’s pick.
But Johnson undoubtedly knew that he was putting himself on the periphery of Ryder Cup contention when he was one of the biggest names to accept a big payday from LIV and Saudi Arabia and leave the PGA Tour in 2022.
Cam Smith is the only golfer who has more birdies than Johnson in LIV events in 2023, but Johnson’s performance in major tournaments didn’t come close to matching Koepka’s. He had just one top 10 (U.S. Open) and missed the cut at the British Open. He told the Post that better performances at the four majors could have put him in contention to join Koepka on the team.
“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.”