Dustin Johnson was having a pretty good season, at least as far as most outsiders could tell. He tied for 12th two weeks ago at the British Open and was a shoe-in to make the Ryder Cup. That’s no longer the case for the 30-year-old eight-time PGA Tour winner who announced Thursday via a statement that he would be “taking a leave of absence from professional golf effective immediately.” The statement goes on (via ESPN):
“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.”
As far as details go, neither Johnson nor his representatives elaborated, except to say that he would no longer vie for a Ryder Cup spot. CBS Sports reports Patrick Reed will likely now join the team.
Of course, while Johnson could be taking a break for any number of reasons, the Twitterverse offered up a few speculative answers about why Johnson is leaving. Some blame his girlfriend Paulina, Wayne Gretzky’s daughter.
Dustin Johnson taking indefinite leave of absence for “personal reasons”? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, PAULINA GRETZKY?
— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) July 31, 2014
Others guess that maybe some sort of substance is involved:
So, is Dustin Johnson out because of drugs? Terrible if true. Hopefully he’ll sort himself out soon and get back to playing golf.
— Ross Murdoch (@cafebrouge) July 31, 2014
And even more blame all of the above:
#DustinJohnson. ‘Personal challenges’ either means divorce, illness, injury, homesick, alcohol or drugs. But twitter pretty much sums it up.
— #BadNewsBrad (@Bradleymyles) July 31, 2014
Whatever the reason — and it could have nothing to do with any of social media’s conclusions — many golf fans are hoping Johnson returns to the links sooner than later.
— Jim Flores (@jimflores) July 31, 2014