There is conflicting information surrounding the nature of Johnson’s absence.
Johnson said in a statement that he was taking time away from the sport to sort out personal issues.
“I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced,” Johnson said in a statement. “By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion.”
Coincidentally, Johnson’s return to tour came at the Farmers Insurance Open on Feb. 8, almost exactly six months after he took his leave of absence.
While he was away from the game, Johnson played golf nearly every day at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., with the father of his girlfriend Paulina Gretky, Wayne Gretzky. He lived the settled down/family lifestyle and prepared for the birth of his first child. Paulina gave birth to their son on Jan. 20, just weeks before he returned to tour.
Though he missed the cut at the Farmers Open, he tore up Pebble Beach and finished tied for fourth, and he followed that up by finishing tied for second at the Northern Trust Open. Then after missing the cut at his next tournament, he got his first win of the year — a victory at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He carried that momentum onto his next two events, both of which he finished tied for sixth, including at the Masters — his best ever finish there.
Johnson has always had the talent and is consistently among the longest players off the tee. He really had a good shot at winning the PGA Championship in 2010, so taking home his first major is long overdue.
Dustin Johnson’s girlfriend Paulina Gretzky gave birth to the couple’s first child less than six months ago, but you would never know she was pregnant by looking at her.
Gretzky, the daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, has shared mostly baby photos on Instagram since little Tatum arrived. As you can see above, Paulina decided to show off her bikini bod prior to the U.S. Open.
Dustin Johnson on Sunday entered the final round of the Byron Nelson Classic just two shots off the lead and in a five-way tie for second. He started his day with birdies on two of the first five holes before a total disaster on Hole 6.
Johnson carded an incredibly rare quadruple-bogey after losing his first tee shot out of bounds to the right. His second ball (third shot) went way left and into an area of extremely thick grass. Johnson took two shots to get out of there, another to get onto the green and then two-putted.
The blow-up hole will likely cost Johnson a chance at winning. It was one of those situations where casual golfers who were watching at home said to themselves, “I could have done that.”
“I did not have a problem,” Johnson told Golf.com when asked about the cocaine reports. “It’s just something I’m not going to get into. I have issues. But that’s not the issue.”
The article revealed that Johnson plans to return to the tour next month, which just so happens to be six months after he took his leave (aka it coincides with the end of his reported suspension).
The interview aimed to repair Johnson’s image as he prepares to return to the tour. It paints him as a person who made mistakes during his youth but is maturing and working hard to grow up. Johnson and his fiancee Paulina Gretzky are expecting their first child in the coming weeks, and that has the golfer thinking about living his life as a better role model.
One change Johnson has made is eliminating excessive drinking. Johnson says he used to deal with his problems by drinking and partying. He says it was not the frequency of his drinking that was the issue, but rather the amount he drank the times he did consume.
“My way of getting rid of it was drinking or partying,” Johnson told Golf.com. “I don’t miss waking up with a hangover, and I didn’t drink very often. It was just when I did it was a little too much.”
Johnson says he used to drink vodka and soda and says he entered a contest with his soon-to-be father-in-law Wayne Gretzky and others about who could go a month without drinking. DJ says he has gone through January without drinking.
Is Johnson a changed man with an improved work ethic? Maybe impressive results on tour will show us. Johnson could be back on TV as early as two weeks from now in Torrey Pines.
“[Dustin Johnson] & i are so excited to finally share with you all our amazing news..we’re having a baby!!” she wrote on Instagram.
Based on the photo she shared, Paulina seems to be somewhat far along in her pregnancy. She was still sharing photos on Instagram of herself in July and did not appear to be pregnant then, but she hardly shared any photos of herself on the service from late July to September. The only photo she shared this month was of her concealing her belly with a robe/jacket:
Dustin Johnson announced last week that he is taking a voluntary leave of absence from golf to “seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced.” Couple that with a report about Johnson being suspended for six months for failing a drug test for cocaine, and many drew the conclusion that Johnson is heading to rehab. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
“Most thought [the announcement] was a hint that he was going to a treatment center,” Rosaforte said Wednesday. “Instead, he’s been up in Northern Idaho at Gozzer Ranch [Golf and Lake Club], hanging out with the Gretzky family, caddying for Paulina in the club’s ladies’ member-guest, and playing a lot of golf, playing almost every day.”
And apparently DJ’s golf game remains on point.
“He shot 61 this week, could have been a 59,” Rosaforte added.
It should be noted that Johnson could still be meeting with some sort of counselor and spending time with his future in-laws, but he obviously isn’t at any type of overnight rehab center. Remember that report we shared with you about Wayne Gretzky warning Johnson to clean up his act? Maybe The Great One is the therapist.
Dustin Johnson has supposedly had problems off the golf course for quite some time now, and it sounds like his behavior was a cause for concern for his future father-in-law. Did Wayne Gretzky have a chat with Johnson to tell him to tone down the partying?
According to Hollie McKay of FOX411, the Great One did just that. Gretzky, father of Johnson’s 25-year-old fiancee Paulina Gretzky, reportedly told Johnson at one point to “clean up his act” or there would be no wedding. The Gretzkys are said to be well aware of Johnson’s party boy antics, and Wayne has tried to be a positive influence.
Johnson and Paulina Gretzky got engaged last summer and were initially planning a Fall 2014 wedding. Wayne Gretzky later said in an interview that the wedding has been postponed due to Johnson’s busy schedule, but it would be fair to wonder if there was more to it than that.