Golf.com reported on Friday that Dustin Johnson is serving a six-month suspension for failing his third drug test.
According to an unnamed source, Johnson tested positive for marijuana in 2009 and for cocaine in 2012 and 2014. The story also reported that Johnson is “known to have had a sexual indiscretion with at least one wife of a PGA Tour player.”
Johnson released a statement on Thursday saying he is “taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately,” and earlier in the week he withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational for “personal reasons.” He further informed officials with the PGA of America he would not be playing next week’s PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.
In response Thursday, the Tour would only say, “We have nothing to add to Dustin’s statement. But wish him well and look forward to his return to the PGA Tour in the future.” The PGA Tour’s policy is not to report violations of the circuit’s anti-doping program if the drugs are considered recreational, like marijuana and cocaine.
On Friday afternoon, a Tour spokesman also declined to comment on the Golf.com report, citing the circuit’s longstanding policy on player matters. But early Friday evening, the Tour released the following statement, officially denying Johnson is under suspension:
"With regard 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."
Johnson, 30, was having a successful season with one Tour victory, a pair of runner-up finishes and over $4.2 million. He was fourth in FedEx Cup points and fifth on the Ryder Cup standings, entering the Bridgestone event.
When asked earlier in the week about a possible suspension, David Winkle, Johnson’s manager with Hambric Sports, texted a Sports Illustrated reporter, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” After Friday's report, he told GolfChannel.com: "I have no further comment."
In 2012, Johnson missed 11 weeks from the WGC-Cadillac Championship, which ended on March 11, to the Memorial Tournament, which began on May 30. At the time, Johnson said he’d injured his back and Winkle denied he had been suspended.
“Dustin is not serving a drug suspension. I will make it clear, he has been injured. He is playing golf again, he is very rusty but champing at the bit to get back out there,” Winkle told CBSSports.com in 2012.