Over Thanksgiving weekend, Dustin Johnson withdrew from the Mayakoba Golf Classic, which would have been his first PGA Tour event since winning the Masters two weeks ago. The two-time major winner has been vacationing in the Caribbean with his family — as one does after major win No. 2 — and has almost certainly played his last golf tournament of 2020.
“I have heard nothing but great things about the tournament, golf course and the Mayakoba resort, so I was excited to play,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, my mind and body are telling me it’s time for a break, so I look forward to spending some much-needed time at home with Paulina (Gretzky) and the boys.”
This should not be a surprise. I was actually more surprised that D.J. was entered into the tournament in the first place, as the No. 1 player in the world doesn’t often make an early-December trip to play the last PGA Tour event of the year.
Not all is lost here, though, as the Mayakoba field is still loaded. The biggest names in the tournament are all playing for something, too, with one surprising name currently fighting for Masters entry.
Justin Thomas (No. 3 in Official World Golf Rankings): J.T. will try to end 2020 the way he started it: with a win. A victory here would mean 12 in the last four calendar years, which is pretty insane to think about.
Brooks Koepka (No. 12): The four-time major champ needs to regain some of the momentum he grabbed at the Masters a few weeks ago. It’s been a terrible year for Koepka, but he can salvage what’s left of it with a win here.
Tony Finau (No. 19): Finau is (somehow!) still trying to break the Puerto Rico Open Curse. Nobody who has won in Puerto Rico has immediately gone on to win a different tournament. Finau is the class player of that list of winners.
Abraham Ancer (No. 22): Another guy who netted a ton of momentum at Augusta National. We have also nearly reached the one-year anniversary of Ancer introducing himself on the global stage at the 2019 Presidents Cup.
Viktor Hovland (No. 26): Also in the Finau crowd of trying to break the Puerto Rico Open Curse.
Brendon Todd (No. 47): Todd will try to go back to back at this event, although the field strength this time around is a little bit (OK, a lot) better than it was a year ago.
Rickie Fowler (No. 49): This is the fascinating one to me. Fowler is playing to get into the 2021 Masters. With a bad showing here, he could fall out of the top 50 in the world by the end of 2020 and begin 2021 with no status for the April Masters. There will still be ample opportunity to play his way in at the beginning of next year, but he undoubtedly wants to lock that up before the calendar flips.
So while a D.J.-less Mayakoba is a disappointment, the event should still be terrific given the star-power and storylines present here. Johnson is absolutely destroying the golf world right now — the gap in OWGR points between him and No. 4 Rory McIlroy is greater than it is between McIlroy and No. 50 Mackenzie Hughes — and the void he leaves at this tournament will likely be filled by one of these golfers to touch off an improbable but great golf season.