Dustin Johnson was associated with drug and alcohol use long before the PGA Tour allegedly suspended him last week for testing positive for cocaine. A source who claimed to have knowledge of the situation told Golf.com that the PGA Tour had suspended Johnson for six months due to the failed drug test. The 30-year-old has announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from golf “to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.”
Johnson failed at least three drug tests since 2009 -- two for cocaine and one for marijuana. He also reportedly served an unannounced suspension in 2012 after testing positive for cocaine. While Johnson’s reps have never confirmed that suspension, he withdrew the 2012 Masters after allegedly injuring his back while lifting a jet ski and missed three consecutive months of play.
The PGA Tour released a statement Friday that dismissed the notion that Johnson was serving a suspension. However, a source told the New York Post that Johnson was given an ultimatum -- either clean up the drug use or face suspension.
An eight-time event winner, Johnson is considered to be one of the most talented players on the PGA Tour. However, he has drawn criticism throughout his career from those who suggest that his hard-partying ways interfered with his ability to perform on the golf course.
The Golf.com report hinted at Johnson’s alleged antics, noting that “he is often seen in bars near his home in Jupiter, [Florida].” This apparent propensity for alcohol use caused trouble for Johnson in the past; he was arrested in 2009 on a DUI charge in South Carolina.
Johnson’s alleged romantic entanglements have also come under scrutiny in recent days. After the Golf.com report suggested that he engaged in a “sexual indiscretion” with the wife of at least one fellow pro golfer, Fox Sports senior golf analyst Robert Lusetich implied that such allegations are nothing new.
“Not a huge secret either that [Dustin Johnson] had affairs with 2 wives of PGA Tour players. One broke up the marriage,” Lusetich wrote on Twitter. The tweet caused such rampant speculation that Alli MacKenzie, a former model, issued a denial that an affair with Johnson was directly responsible for the degradation of her marriage to PGA Tour player Will MacKenzie.
While Johnson’s private life has always drawn attention, the interest in his off-the-course behavior skyrocketed in recent years due to his high profile relationship with his fiancée, Paulina Gretzky. A 25-year-old model and the daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, Paulina has cultivated a rabid following on her Instagram account, which often features photos of her and Johnson partying in exotic locales.
The pair began dating in 2012 and got engaged in August 2013. Throughout their relationship, Gretzky has often been cited as a “distraction” to Johnson’s golf career.