Jul
31
2014
Dustin Johnson takes mysterious leave of absence to seek “professional help”
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
Johnson searching for inner peace?

Johnson searching for inner peace?

Dustin Johnson announced on Thursday that he will take time away from golf to seek help for “personal challenges.” While we don’t know what these are specifically, we do know Johnson will miss the PGA Championship and the FedExCup PLAYOFFS, along with the Ryder Cup, where he was fifth in the points standings — which might prove costly for the U.S. team.

Johnson, who abruptly withdrew from the field at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this week, is arguably America’s most consistent player this season. Here’s the statement released through his management company: 

“I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately,” Johnson, 30, said in a statement released by his management team which made no reference to the Ryder Cup. “I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced. 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.

“I respectfully ask my fans, well-wishers and the media for privacy as I embark upon this mission of self-improvement.”

Hmm…interesting. That’s really all I can say, but it’s not hard to read between the lines if one is to believe any of the past whispers about DJ that have circulated around the PGA Tour. There’s already rampant speculation that’s spread across social media channels.

Speaking of the Tour… guess what? They have no comment! Shocking, by jove!

“We have nothing to add to Dustin’s statement, but we wish him well and look forward to his return to the PGA TOUR in the future.”

It is up to the Tour’s discretion whether they reveal suspensions for a positive drug test involving recreational drugs, but they do disclose punishments for PEDs, like in the unfortunate case of Vijay Singh.

Well, where could Dustin be going or what could he be doing for, say, the next few months (a set period of time)? After all, he already knows he’s going to miss the Ryder Cup. Dustin’s manager David Winkle informed the PGA of America that Johnson will not be back in time while he’s receiving the help he needs.

“We will certainly miss Dustin Johnson at Gleneagles, and we wish him the best,” American Captain Tom Watson said in a statement. “As one of the longest hitters in the game with an undefeated record of 3-and-0 at Medinah in 2012, he has clearly been an asset for the United States team.

“That said, the United States is a team with an abundance of talent. I am looking forward to teeing it up alongside those players in the PGA Championship at Valhalla, and finding out along with everyone else, which players qualify for the team based on points.”

In 2012 Johnson missed three months of the season due to a “back injury.” He didn’t play from the WGC-Cadillac Championship to the Memorial Tournament, but he won in his first start back at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.

We wish Dustin the best and hope he gets the professional help he needs.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)