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PGA hits back at Johnson report

AP

The PGA Tour is refuting a report that Dustin Johnson has been suspended.

Johnson said in a vague statement issued by his management company that he would take a leave of absence effective immediately to seek professional help for “personal challenges.” The announcement Thursday brought an abrupt end to his PGA Tour season, knocking him out of the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.

Golf.com reported Friday that the tour suspended Johnson for six months. It cited an unidentified source as saying Johnson failed a drug test for the third time.

“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 tour’s statement said.

It was rare for the tour to comment on any matters related to potential discipline.

The PGA Tour began drug testing in July 2008.

Johnson isn’t the first player to take a leave of absence.

John Daly announced in September 1994 that he was taking the rest of the year off because of “mental and physical” problems. In announcing Daly’s decision, Finchem repeatedly used the word “voluntary,” but said the decision was reached after numerous meetings between Daly and the tour.