• Ryder Cup

Johnson takes leave of absence and will miss Ryder Cup

Bob Harig
July 31, 2014
Dustin Johnson: "I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced" © Getty Images

Dustin Johnson, one of the top American players, is taking a leave of absence to "seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced" and will not play in the Ryder Cup.

Johnson, 30, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour who tied for 12th two weeks ago at the Open Championship, released a statement through his management company after having withdrawn from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational earlier this week.

"I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately," Johnson said. "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."

Johnson's agent, Davis Winkle, said neither he nor Johnson would have any further comment.

The PGA Tour said in a statement that it had nothing to add "but we wish him well and look forward to his return to the PGA Tour in the future."

The PGA of America has been told by Johnson's representatives that he won't play in the Ryder Cup at the end of September. If that holds, the players on the points list would move up a spot. Patrick Reed is currently 10th in the standings, with the top nine after next week's PGA Championship automatically making the team. Tom Watson has three captain's picks to make on September 2.

Johnson currently is fifth on the points list, making him a virtual lock to make the team.

"We will certainly miss Dustin Johnson at Gleneagles, and we wish him the best," 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," Watson said. "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."

Last year, Johnson and girlfriend Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, announced their engagement. Earlier this year, she appeared on the cover of Golf Digest, a controversial selection that upset some members of the LPGA Tour.

Johnson is generally regarded as one of the most talented players in the game. His eight victories are more than any player his age. He missed the cut last weekend at the Canadian Open and won't play in next week's PGA Championship.

Two years ago, Johnson missed significant time with a back injury, announcing it on the eve of the Masters. He did not play for three months from the WGC-Cadillac Championship until the Memorial Tournament.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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