MIAMI (Reuters) - American Dustin Johnson’s break from the game appears to have served him well — after six months out of the sport he returned last month and on Sunday won the elite WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
Johnson’s decision to take a ‘leave of absence’ from the sport prompted plenty of speculation over the reasons but the player was in no mood to elaborate in the aftermath of his win.
“Because it’s personal and frankly, I just, ... it’s not really anybody’s business,” said Johnson, who has previously stated the sabbatical was to seek help for unspecified “personal challenges”.
When Johnson announced his decision to step away from golf, rumors about his lifestyle swirled, including the suggestion that he may have been suspended by the PGA Tour.
The Tour, which had initially said it did not comment on rumors or speculation, released a statement saying Johnson had taken a voluntary leave of absence and had not been suspended.
Asked in a news conference on Sunday if he had ever failed a Tour drugs test, Johnson replied: “No. Thanks”.
The 30-year-old, who now has nine wins on the PGA Tour, was greeted on the 18th by his wife Paulina, daughter of former NHL great Wayne Gretzky, and their son Tatum, who was born in January.
“Paulina and Tatum were waiting for me when I got done. That was the best part of the day for sure,” said Johnson, who said he had enjoyed his time away from golf.
“I got to spend a lot of time with Paulina and help her as much as I could through her pregnancy, and then the birth of our son. I really enjoyed being able to be home and not having to leave or do anything.
“I was in the gym every single day, every morning, and then spend the rest of the time either I would go practice a little bit or just hanging out with Paulina,” he said.
“My game is in good form. I feel really confident in my golf swing. I need to do some work with the putter and short game, especially leading into Augusta,” he said.
Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Peter Rutherford