Dustin Johnson will take an undetermined leave of absence from golf, according to a statement the No. 16-ranked player in the world released on Thursday afternoon.
“I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately,” the statement read. “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.”
No details were given as to the nature of the personal challenges. Johnson withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Monday citing personal reasons but offered nothing further until Thursday.
The length of his absence and the issues Johnson faces could send wide ripples throughout the rest of the Tour season. Within an hour of Johnson’s announcement, the PGA of America announced that he will not play in the Ryder Cup, which is a big blow for Tom Watson’s U.S. team. The 30-year-old is currently fourth in FedEx Cup points and fifth in the Ryder Cup standings and has more wins than any active player 30 or younger, with eight..
“We will certainly miss Dustin Johnson at Gleneagles, and we wish him the best,” Watson said through a statement. “As one of the longest hitters in the game with an undefeated record of 3-0 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.”
The PGA Tour continued its longstanding policy of staying mum on all non-injury related issues. In a one-line statement the tour said:
“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.”