Golf / Sports

Dustin Johnson takes leave of absence from PGA Tour

AKRON, Ohio -- Dustin Johnson, who withdrew from the Bridgestone Invitational on Monday, is taking an immediate leave of absence from the PGA Tour, according to a statement released through his management company.

"I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced," Johnson said in the statement, according to pgatour.com. "By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion."

Johnson asked for privacy as he embarked "upon this mission of self-improvement."

Last year, Johnson was engaged to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey hall of famer Wayne Gretzky.

Johnson, 30, will miss next week's PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup in September, David Winkle, president of Hambric Sports Management, told the PGA of America.

Johnson stands fifth in U.S. Ryder Cup points. The top nine in the Ryder Cup standings after the PGA Championship automatically qualify and if Johnson is still among those, the 10th man would make the team.

Going into this week, Patrick Reed is No. 10, followed by Phil Mickelson, Brendon Todd, Chris Kirk and Ryan Moore.

Players in the Bridgestone Invitational expressed shock at the news.

When told Johnson would not play in the Ryder Cup, Jim Furyk was nearly speechless.

"Is that right?" Furyk said. "Oh, wow. Wow. That's a quick slap in the face. That's a big loss. He's one of our horses, one of our best players and a guy that's having a really good year. He's been solid on that team for a long time. That's disappointing. He's got a great game, a lot of talent, power, can do a lot with a golf ball and we'll definitely miss having him on the team."

Johnson went 3-0 in his Ryder Cup matches at Medinah in 2012. He's also No. 2 this week on the tour in driving distance with at 311-yard average.

"You always want guys with that kind of power to play on any team," Tiger Woods said. "I've been his partner in the Presidents Cup in Australia and the firepower he has, it's pretty cool to be around."

Rickie Fowler said he was "definitely shocked."

"Dustin is one of my best friends out here," Fowler said. "We've played a lot of amateur golf together. I'm just hoping for all the best for him. I haven't been in touch with him. Hopefully he can get everything straightened out."

Jason Dufner said he and Johnson "are close" and expressed his concern.

"He's a huge talent, he's the type of guy the tour needs," Dufner said. "A lot of guys love him out here."

Johnson has eight victories on the PGA Tour, including the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November. This year he has seven top 10s in 17 events and has won more than $4 million.

Zach Johnson said he gets called Dustin on "every other hole for some reason." But he seemed the most emotional about Dustin Johnson's situation, even though he called their friendship "mild."

"I wish and pray that his well-being will be on the rise," Zach Johnson said. "I feel for him. I feel for his family. I feel for those associated with him because they've done a lot of good work this year.

"I want him on the Ryder Cup team, but that's my selfish side coming out. If anything, I hope this is the start of something really, really positive."

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus