Both players have been outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings for much of the summer, and they each decided to bow out of golf’s Olympic return in order to focus on maintaining their PGA Tour cards. The gamble didn’t exactly pay off, as both Villegas and de Jonge missed the cut at the Travelers Championship and John Deere Classic.
Those results meant that Villegas began this week’s Wyndham Championship at No. 150 in the FedEx Cup standings, while de Jonge sits at No. 153.
Villegas waited as long as possible to pull the plug on his Olympic participation, and the Colombian admitted that watching the Rio coverage on television was bittersweet.
“It was a bummer not to be there,” Villegas said. “It wasn’t easy to watch the opening ceremony. I really wanted to be there, but it was a tough decision. I had to pull out due to my performance this year, and I’ll do everything I can to be there for 2020.”
De Jonge watched plenty of Olympic coverage last week in between his rounds at TPC Deere Run, but the Zimbabwean said that he didn’t watch much of the golf.
“I watched a lot of swimming,” de Jonge said. “I just thought I’d rather watch the other events, to be honest.”
De Jonge gave his playoff aspirations a boost with a 3-under 67 in the opening round at Sedgefield Country Club, his lowest score since a final-round 66 at the Barbasol Championship last month. Despite struggling in each of his last two starts, he stands by his decision to skip last week’s event in Brazil.
“I made the decision I had to,” de Jonge said. “Obviously in hindsight I missed those two cuts, so I may as well have gone and played the Olympics. But I didn’t anticipate that. I did what I had to.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Villegas, who won the Wyndham in 2014 but sits well off the pace after opening with a 2-over 72.
“I’m pretty at peace with my decision,” Villegas said. “Obviously I wish I would have played a little bit better the last two weeks, but it is what it is. I wanted to be there, I just couldn’t be.”