Dustin Johnson's leave of absence from the PGA Tour annouced by his agency Thursday is because of a six-month suspension levied by the tour after he tested positive for cocaine, Golf.com reported Friday.
According to a Golf.com source, Johnson failed three drug tests – for marijuana in 2009 and two for cocaine in 2012 and this year. The web site said Johnson was suspended in 2012, but the penalty was never made public.
The tour has a policy in regards to drug testing, but is not required to announce discipline against players found to have used recreational drugs.
The PGA Tour disputed Golf.com's report with a statement on Friday from executive vice president Ty Votaw. Votaw said Johnson stepped away voluntarily.
"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," Votaw's statement said.
Golf.com speculated that Johnson's first suspension came after he tied for 35th in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship on March 11, 2012. He did not play again until May 31 at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, where he tied for 19th. He reportedly blamed that absence on a back injury from lifting a jet ski.
According to Golf.com, Johnson is frequently seen in bars near his Jupiter, Fla., home and “is known to have had a sexual indiscretion with at least one wife of a PGA Tour player.”
Johnson announced his leave of absence in a statement released by Hambric Sports Management, saying he was dealing with "personal challenges," and asked for privacy. He withdrew from the $9 million WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on Monday, citing a personal reason.
Johnson, 30, is engaged to Paulina Gretzky, daughter of hockey hall of famer Wayne Gretzky.
Johnson had secured a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and qualified for the FedExCup playoffs, but will miss all of those events.
Johnson has eight victories on the PGA Tour, including the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in November. This year he has seven top 10s in 17 events and has won over $4 million.