DailyMail Bad boy golfer Dustin Johnson has quit the game to seek ‘professional help’ following a chequered personal history which includes a DUI arrest, drug rumours and links to a gangland murder. The world number 16, who earlier this year announced his engagement to model girlfriend Paulina Gretzky, said he needed the time to focus on his mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation. Johnson, 30, who finished 12th in The Open two weeks ago and was fourth in the US Ryder Cup standings, is well known for leading a party lifestyle that led to him being labelled an unfulfilled talent. In a dramatic statement released on Thursday night, he said he was taking an indefinite leave of absence and will not play in the season’s final major next week or the Ryder Cup in September. The statement read: ‘I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately. 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 fulfil my potential and become a consistent champion. ‘I respectfully ask for privacy as I embark upon this mission of self-improvement.’ The PGA of America confirmed he won’t be part of the United States team at Gleneagles. European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley seemed to suggest Johnson should have been clearer about his reasons for stepping down. He told Sky sports: ‘It’s much better for everyone if there is clarity,’ he said. ‘If something has gone wrong and he has been misbehaving, let’s get it dealt with and move forward.’ At 17 he was arrested for buying bullets that were later used in a gangland murder. In 2009 he was in trouble again after being charged with DUI (driving under the influence). In May 2012, Johnson’s agent David Winkle insisted his client had not been serving a drugs suspension from the PGA Tour when he spent three months out of the game. His coach Butch Harmon was forthcoming in a 2011 interview, revealing: ‘Dustin and I had a come-to-Jesus conversation about getting his personal life in order. ‘I told him he needs to figure out who he is and how committed he is to utilizing his talent. He needs to eliminate some of the, shall we say, extracurricular activities. He’s a fun-loving guy, I realize that. But there’s a time to play and a time to work and he needs to understand that better.’ Johnson seemed to have settled down since meeting Gretzky and was an impressive winner of the WGC-Champions tournament in Shanghai last November.In 2001, a then 16-year-old Johnson and four other teenagers were involved in a burglary during which one of them of the took a gun. Johnson was later bullied into using fake ID to buy bullets for the gun at Wal-Mart by a friend’s menacing older brother Steve Gillian. Later that month Gillian was charged with murder after shooting a man named Jason Ward multiple times in the head. Gillian was convicted of murder and received a life sentence. Johnson had to pay restitution for the burglary and to testify at the trial. In 2009 he was pardoned by the state of South Carolina. His proposed to girlfriend Paulina Gretzky, daughter of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky a model and pop star, in August last year.
This is the first that I’ve heard of Dustin Johnson using a fake ID to buy the bullets for a stolen gun that was used in a gangland homicide, but that’s the type of experience that will drive a person to drinking and drugs, as self medicating can work for a while. I expect Dustin Johnson to take this leave of absence, get the help he needs, and bounce back by the start of the 2015 PGA season.
At least Dustin Johnson has Paulina Gretzky to help him get through these tough times: