Dustin Johnson, who finished tied for 12th at The Open Championship earlier in the month, has announced that he is taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour effective immediately. From Golf Channel's Jason Sobel:
Breaking news from Dustin Johnson: "I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 31, 2014
More from Dustin Johnson: "I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 31, 2014
Statement from Dustin Johnson doesn't get into specifics, nor does it hint at how long his leave of absence will be.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 31, 2014
After his withdrawal from this week's event, Dustin Johnson's manager texted me with this vague explanation: "Just some personal stuff."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 31, 2014
As Sobel's last tweet notes, Johnson withdrew on Tuesday from this week's Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone without explanation. The 16th-ranked player in the world, Johnson is the only player in the top 50 who is not participating in the World Golf Championship event.
As for the personal problems, the only recent glimpse that the public has had into Johnson's private life was an Instagram post that he made regarding his 30th birthday celebration with fiancee - and controversial Golf Digest cover girl - Paulina Gretzky.
Johnson is currently fourth in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings and fifth in the United States' Ryder Cup rankings. If his spot as an automatic qualifier for the U.S. team holds up for the rest of the season but he decides not to participate, his roster spot will go to the next player on the points list.
As for the PGA Tour's response to Johnson's statement, Sobel offered the following:
PGA Tour statement on Dustin Johnson: "We wish him well and look forward to his return to the PGA Tour in the future."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) July 31, 2014
For his career, Johnson has earned over $24 million with eight PGA Tour victories.