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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – As speculation ramps up about who will (or won’t) represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Justin Thomas left little doubt about his aspirations to represent his country.
Thomas is currently ranked No. 4 in the world, with only world No. 1 Brooks Koepka ahead of him among American players. With the top four Americans at the June 22 cutoff expected to qualify, it puts him in great position to potentially make his Olympic debut in July.
But Koepka expressed ambivalence when discussing the topic this week with reporters in Saudi Arabia, noting that the four majors and the FedExCup would take on more personal significance when crafting a 2020 schedule. There was a similar sentiment from world No. 5 Dustin Johnson, who opted out of the Rio Olympics in 2016 and told reporters this week he’s “not really sure” how the Olympics might fit into his summer itinerary.
Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Thomas made it clear that he’ll be in Tokyo if he maintains his qualifying position through the summer.
“There’s no scenario for me (to skip the Olympics if qualified),” Thomas said. “It’s just different. It’s once in every four years, and you have the opportunity to do it.”
Thomas is already a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, and a victory this week on the Stadium Course would be his fourth in his last nine worldwide starts. It’s a torrid run of form that makes him likely to remain inside the American qualifying bubble, but he was hesitant to criticize any players who might potentially bypass a spot in the 60-man competition.
“I feel like it’s a very uncomfortable question to be asked, because there’s no right answer. No matter how you say it, you’re going to be ridiculed for it or say your priorities aren’t in line,” Thomas said. “You can’t really compare it to anything because it’s on its own, I think.”