AKRON, Ohio – As speculation increases over Dustin Johnson’s reported use of illegal drugs, much of the focus has centered on the PGA Tour’s stance on its players using drugs, both recreational and performance-enhancing.
A Golf.com report released Friday says Johnson has been suspended for six months after a third failed drug test, although the PGA Tour later released a statement saying Johnson’s leave of absence is voluntary, and not a suspension.
Several years ago Matt Every confirmed that he was suspended by the Tour for drug use. He believes that the Tour should change its testing policies.
Every was arrested for marijuana possession in July 2010, and was suspended by the Tour for three months for what he described as “conduct unbecoming a professional.”
Every is in the midst of a career year, one that is highlighted by his breakthrough win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. After a 2-under 68 in the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he expanded on his personal view, saying the Tour’s drug-testing measures are too far-reaching.
“I think it’s very clean out here, and I mean that 100 percent, but I honestly don’t think we even need a policy,” Every said. “I don’t think we need to test out here.
“I know we’re doing it for the Olympics, but I don’t think many guys really care about the Olympics. Nobody grew up saying, ‘I want to win a gold medal at the Olympics.’ We’re not gymnasts.”
Every clarified that he believes the Tour should continue to test for performance-enhancing drugs, adding, “If it’s steroids, I think we should know. That’s different.”
The Golf.com report alleged Johnson’s failed tests to be tied to marijuana and cocaine, and Every remained adamant that recreational drugs should be handled differently by the Tour.
“Anybody who chooses to do recreational drugs, there is no way that they’re doing them while they’re playing golf out here, and there’s no way that those drugs are affecting their golf out here in a positive or negative way,” Every said. “I mean, if somebody smoked the night before and came out the next day, you’re not going to feel different either way. It’s not going to affect your play.”
One of the issues tied to Johnson’s leave of absence is the Tour’s reluctance to confirm drug-related suspensions, allowing players to potentially offer other reasons for extended absences from competition. While the newsworthy nature of Every’s arrest removed that option for his particular case, he has no issue with players hypothetically covering for drug-related penalties.
“If they (PGA Tour) decide not to make these things public, why wouldn’t you do that? If I was in that situation, I would try to do it. Anybody out here probably would,” he said. “Who’s going to voluntarily say ‘Hey, I got busted for this’? In a way, they are helping some guys out.”