Golfer Dustin Johnson reportedly fails drug test

Last updated 11:32 02/08/2014
Dustin Johnson
Reuters
IN HOT WATER: American golfer Dustin Johnson is serving a six-month suspension from the PGA Tour after reportedly testing positive for cocaine.

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The US PGA Tour has released a statement claiming Dustin Johnson is not under official suspension for drug violations as claimed by Sports Illustrated on Friday.

In the murky world of the Tour's policies on suspensions, the clarification does not clear Johnson of drug use, only rather saying they have not suspended the American star who voluntarily walked away from the game.

''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 statement said.

Earlier Sports Illustrated, through a story on its website golf.com, claimed Johnson was suspended for six months after testing positive to cocaine.

The magazine says Johnson has now failed three drug tests, one for marijuana in 2009 and two for cocaine, in 2012 and 2014.

The Tour's comment does not refute the positive test claims, only that of the latest suspension.

As a general rule the Tour does not make any disciplinary issues public, although it is always up to the commissioner should he choose to do so.

In a move not seen in any mainstream sport across the globe it is possible Johnson saved himself being technically suspended by walking away, effectively 'resigning' before being 'fired'.

Johnson has simply said he is taking a break from golf due to personal challenges.

''I am taking a leave of absence from professional golf, effective immediately,'' Johnson said in a statement released on Thursday.

''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 wellbeing and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfil 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.''

Johnson and his agent have so far refused to elaborate or make further comment.

The American is missing at an important time of the season with the year's final major, the PGA Championship, on next week.

He will also miss the US PGA tour playoffs and will not take his place in the US Ryder Cup team to play in Scotland at the end of September.

Johnson is engaged to model Paulina Gretzky, daughter of former ice hockey superstar, Wayne Gretzky.

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