According to Tim Rosaforte of the Golf Channel, Dustin Johnson has been spending time playing golf and caddying for his fiance Paulina Gretzky in Northern Idaho. This report comes on the heels of Johnson’s ‘leave of absence’ from the PGA TOUR, which is under intense scrutiny by close observers of the golf world.
Here is Dustin Johnson’s original statement :
“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 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.”
Stephanie Wei gave her thoughts on the statement in an article, “Dustin Johnson takes mysterious leave of absence to seek ‘professional help.’”
The statement was released on July 31st, and a day later, Michael Bamberger and Michael Walker of Golf.com broke the story that Johnson had a positive cocaine test, and was given a six-month suspension by the TOUR. Here is my article on the positive test, “Report: Dustin Johnson suspended for positive cocaine test.”
The twist in the story is the PGA TOUR maintains they never suspended Johnson, and has no further comment. The most realistic theory regarding why the TOUR is denying the suspension report is they never technically suspended Johnson, but rather Johnson took the option of a voluntary leave of absence to get himself together.
It’s a confusing story, but the main thing is that Dustin Johnson has some sort of problem, and we all want him to get well. If caddying for his fiance in Northern Idaho helps, then good for him.
The other problem is the TOUR’s policy of refusing to make failed drug tests and suspensions public. Under this policy, anytime someone takes a leave of absence there is speculation they failed a drug test. In addition, one of the deterrents is the public embarrassment of getting a suspension.
The PGA TOUR wants to uphold a clean cut image, but the rules must be enforced, and the public has a right to know when a player fails to live up to the TOUR’s standards.
–Bernie D’Amato (@bdamato711)