Dustin Johnson is a professional golfer. In fact, he is much more than that. Johnson ranks No. 16 on the World Golf Rankings. He is No. 3 on the World Money List in 2014. Johnson is also fourth in the Fed Ex Cup Points Standings. Beyond the golf course, Johnson recently got engaged to the lovely Paulina Gretzky, who is the daughter of the greatest hockey player on the planet, Wayne Gretzky. While Johnson may appear to have it all – both on and off of the greens – he just became the latest athlete to prove that things are not always as they seem.
Johnson announced on Thursday that he is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the game he loves to get help for a personal problem. His leave will take place immediately, meaning that he will miss the rest of this season, including the Ryder Cup.
He released the following statement through his management company.
“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.”
I am not friends with Johnson. I have no personal connection to him whatsoever, aside from the fact that his fiancée’s father was one of my favorite athletes growing up. I do not run in the same circles as Johnson or Gretzky, and will not begin to speculate as to what is causing him to leave the game for the foreseeable future. While some may cite drugs or alcohol or relationship or physical issues, the truth is, we do not know.
All we do know for sure is that professional athletes who seem to have it all are still human beings with the same problems that plague people who are not in the spotlight.