Dustin Johnson, eying a return to the PGA Tour after a break to put his life in order, has denied having a cocaine problem in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
“I did not have a problem,” he said when asked about the report that a positive drug test for cocaine prompted him to leave the tour in late July.
“It`s just something I`m not going to get into. I have issues. But that`s not the issue.”
In August, the US PGA Tour — which rarely comments on disciplinary matters — said Johnson`s leave of absence was voluntary and not a suspension for a failed drug test.
The tour`s comments came after Golf.com reported that 30-year-old Johnson had been banned after testing positive for cocaine.
Johnson did tell Sports Illustrated that he used “drinking or partying” as a way to alleviate stress.
“Yeah, that might work for that day, or the next week, but eventually everything keeps piling up,” he said.
So during his time off, Johnson assembled a team that included a life coach, to help him learn to handle the pressure surrounding him and allow him to make the most of his golfing talent.
“I don`t think I`ve even scratched the surface,” Johnson said of his golf game. “And that was a really big part of what I`ve been doing, to help myself reach that potential.”
Johnson is planning to return to the tour in February, at either Torrey Pines or Pebble Beach.
The timing will depend on a big event in his personal life.
His fiancee Paulina Gretzky, daughter of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, is expecting the couple`s first child soon.