Justin Rose: Dustin Johnson's absence a blow for United States' Ryder Cup team
Last Updated: 01/08/14 12:00pm
Dustin Johnson's absence from the Ryder Cup will hurt the United States as they look to regain the trophy at Gleneagles, according to Justin Rose.
Johnson is to take a break from golf as he seeks "professional help for personal challenges" and will miss week's US PGA Championship at Valhalla, after which the nine automatic qualifiers for Tom Watson's team will be finalised.
The 30-year-old looked certain to make his third consecutive appearance in the Ryder Cup at the end of September, standing fifth in the rankings. With the world number 16 now out of the running, everyone below him in the table effectively moves up a place.
Johnson won all three of his matches in a losing cause at Medinah in 2012 and Rose - who partnered Martin Kaymer to a 3&2 defeat against Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the Friday fourballs - said: "He's not going to play Ryder Cup. That will be a blow for the American team.
"I just wish him well, whatever he's facing right now. Can't be easy for him. I wish him all the best. He's a friend of mine (but I) didn't really know that that was on the cards."
More than anything, I pray that his well-being will be on the mend. If anything, I just hope this is the start of something really, really positive.
Zach Johnson on Dustin Johnson
Ryder Cup team-mate Zach Johnson admitted he was also shocked to hear the news during the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which his namesake had pulled out of earlier this week for personal reasons.
"I think it's extremely unfortunate," former Masters champion Johnson said. "I feel for him. I feel for his family. I feel for his team, those that are associated with him, because they've done a lot of good work this year.
"More than anything, I pray that his well-being will be on the mend. If anything, I just hope this is the start of something really, really positive.
"I don't know what happened. I don't know what the specifics are, nor should I know, that's none of my business.
"I want him on the Ryder Cup team but that's my selfish side coming out. It really stinks (he will not play). When he's playing good, he's got the game that it frankly doesn't matter what kind of golf course it is. He can do well.
"I don't want to say he has an intimidation factor, but to some individuals he might in the sense that he can overpower courses."
Tiger Woods added: "I'll tell you what, with his power, you always want guys with that kind of power to play on any team. I've been his partner in the Presidents Cup in Australia, and the fire power that he has, it's pretty cool to be around.
"It's not too often you see a guy carry the ball 320 (yards) without even trying, and then when he steps on it he can hit it even further. When he gets it going, it's awfully impressive."
Leave of absence
Johnson, who was joint fourth in the US Open and joint 12th in the Open Championship this season, released a statement through his management company on Thursday which 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 my fans, well-wishers and the media for privacy as I embark upon this mission of self-improvement."