While away from the PGA Tour – whether because of his own desire or because of a suspension – Dustin Johnson has great support from The Great One. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky spoke out on behalf of his future son-in-law while talking to a Canadian radio station on Wednesday.
Johnson announced his leave of absence on July 31, citing “personal challenges.” Golf.com reported the next day that he had actually been suspended by the PGA Tour after testing positive for cocaine, but the tour quickly denied that report and stated that Johnson’s leave was voluntary.
“Obviously life isn’t perfect and he went through a tough time and, as he said to me, ‘It’s going to make me a better person and a more responsible person, and through that it’s going to make me a better athlete and better golfer,'” Gretzky told Sportsnet 590 The Fan.
“In life, unfortunately, sometimes we forget that even athletes are human and there’s bumps in the road, and most importantly he’s a wonderful person with a good heart and we care about him,” Gretzky continued. “He’s our future son-in-law and we love him dearly. It’s been a tough time… When you go through tough times as a family that’s when you have to stick together the most.”
Johnson proposed to Gretzky’s daughter, Paulina, in August 2013 and they were set to be married this fall. It is unclear if the wedding plans have been postponed due to Johnson’s current circumstances.
At the time of his announcement, Johnson was 16th in the world rankings, and despite moving around a bit since, he’s back to No. 16 in the latest rankings.
Johnson is also No. 30 in the FedExCup standings, which would have qualified him for this week’s Tour Championship despite not playing the first three playoff events. For finishing the season at that spot, Johnson will receive a $175,000 bonus. He was fourth on the FedExCup points list when he took his leave.
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