AKRON, Ohio — Dustin Johnson’s absence from professional golf, which he called a “leave of absence” in a statement Thursday, is a six-month suspension issued by the PGA Tour for having tested positive for cocaine, Golf.com reported Friday.
Johnson, a top golfer who has come close to winning two majors and had clinched a spot on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, had tested positive twice before, Golf.com reported — once in 2009 for marijuana and once in 2012 for cocaine. The latter time, he was suspended, according to the report, but he said that he missed time because of a bad back.
The PGA Tour does have drug testing. But unlike major team-sports leagues, it does not make public its suspensions or fines — for any breach of conduct. A thick file (five suspensions) on John Daly, for instance, became known this year only after it was part of a libel suit the golfer failed to win.
The PGA Tour rebutted the Golf.com report.
Most Read Stories
“With regards to media reports that Dustin Johnson has been suspended by the PGA Tour, this is to clarify that Mr. Johnson has taken a voluntary leave of absence and is not under a suspension from the PGA Tour,” the tour’s statement said.
Johnson said in a vague statement issued by his management company Thursday that he would take a leave of absence effective immediately to seek professional help for “personal challenges.”