A day after Dustin Johnson announced he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the PGA Tour to address what he described as personal problems, a report has surfaced suggesting that time off was forced by a failed drug test.
Golf.com reports Johnson will be serving a six-month suspension for testing positive for cocaine use under the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping program. The source for the story claims this is the third positive test Johnson has registered — one in 2009 for marijuana use and a pair for cocaine use, in 2012 and this year.
Johnson missed the 2012 Masters after suddenly pulling out of the tournament, claiming he injured his back in a jet ski incident. However, Johnson was under PGA Tour suspension during that time frame for the positive test. The PGA Tour chose not to make the suspension public as is their option under the rules of the Anti-Doping program in the case of positive tests for use of recreational drugs. PGA Tour officials chose to decline comment on the Golf.com report of a suspension.
“I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced,” Johnson said Thursday in a statement issued by his management company. “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.”
Johnson mysteriously withdrew from this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, citing personal issues. Then he was seen Monday in a photograph posted to Instagram by fiance Paulina Gretzky. Johnson was wearing a caddy bib in the picture as Gretzky was lining up a putt. In the since-deleted picture, Johnson was holding what appeared to be an alcoholic beverage.
The suspension will leave Johnson ineligible to compete for the remainder of the season, including the PGA Championship and FedEx Cup playoffs. Johnson, through his agent, has notified the PGA of America he will not compete in the Ryder Cup, though he would be eligible.