By Brian Wacker
Webb Simpson has won a U.S. Open and a Players Championship. It sounds like he doesn’t have much interest in trying to add an Olympic medal this summer, though.
“I think it would be an honour to represent the country,” Simpson said on Tuesday from TPC Sawgrass. “Nothing against the Olympics, but I’m personally more interested in trying to win majors, the Players Championship, the FedEx Cup than be a medalist in the Olympics.”
Of course, to be able to win a medal, he’d need to qualify to play in the belated Summer Games in Tokyo, scheduled for late July. Simpson, currently 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the eighth-ranked American. Only the top four, at a maximum, can qualify.
Dustin Johnson, the current World No. 1, said last year that he would not play in the Olympics. Later, he said he would consider participating should the PGA Tour’s schedule be accommodating for flying to the Tokyo amid a busy summer schedule of big tournaments.
The men’s Olympic golf tournament is slated at Kasumigaseki Country Club, about 35 miles northwest of downtown Tokyo, from July 29-Aug. 1. That’s less than two weeks after the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in the south of England concludes and a few days before the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, which Johnson won in 2018 before it became a WGC
Simpson, too, doesn’t seem keen on travelling halfway around the world.
“Part of it is exciting for me, but the thought of going halfway around the world for that time frame in that part of our season is really tough for me to swallow,” the 35-year-old seven-time tour winner said. “I haven’t made any kind of mental decisions yet, but it would be a hard one for me to go to, knowing what’s at stake here on the PGA Tour.
“I think the travel is what’s getting me, because we build our season around three championships for the FedEx Cup, and that part of the season is already hard for me because we have WGC Memphis, I played Wyndham, and so it would be hard for me to put that much effort into going to Japan. I feel like it would really shoot me in the foot for the playoffs, and right now in my career, the playoffs are more important to me than the Olympics.”
That is assuming the Games move forward as scheduled. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the Games. So far, the International Olympic Committee is preparing to move forward with the Games this summer.