Dustin Johnson Suspended From The PGA

Dustin_Johnson_2008_US_Open_croppedI am not a golfer and it is one of the sports that I least enjoy watching. However, it does occasionally supply an interesting legal controversy. Pro golfer Dustin Johnson this week is taking a leave of absence from the PGA tour (the Washington Post is calling it a suspension). The reason is intriguing. He failed three drug tests and allegedly has been sleeping with the wives of other players. The drug tests however were reportedly for marijuana and cocaine. Since those are not performance enhancing drugs, I do not understand why the PGA even tests for them or why Johnson being a cad is an issue for the PGA.

Johnson failed three drug tests in the past five years, including a positive test for marijuana in 2009 and two positive tests for cocaine in 2012 and 2014. However, I know of no study showing that such drugs give him an advantage on the course. Moreover, he does not play for a team where his conduct has a material impact on teammates. Golf is a singular pursuit of athletes. Likewise, why does it matter that Johnson “had a sexual indiscretion with at least one wife of a PGA Tour player.” Isn’t that a matter between Johnson and the married couple?

I do not understand why golfers are treated as representing the PGA, which is just the umbrella organization for these games.

Johnson, 30, will miss the PGA Championship this coming weekend. That will honestly have no impact on me since I would rather drink molten lead than watch the PGA Championship. However, I remain confused as to why these particular acts are material in whether he will appear.

Source: Washington Post

72 thoughts on “Dustin Johnson Suspended From The PGA”

  1. I’m sure that to be a PGA member he agreed to certain requirements – including a morals clause. The strict libertarian position would be that if he didn’t like the terms of the morals clause, then he could have negotiated a contract without one before he became a PGA member. And if the PGA refused to accept his terms, and he still wanted to be a member, then was bound to honor the agreement and alter his behavior. Or he can decide not to be a professional PGA golfer.

    It will probably all change when athletes with big endorsement deals make headlines for engaging in conduct similar to that engaged in by Johnson and the sponsors don’t pull the endorsement deals. That will probably be the all clear sign for the PGA to remove the morals clause, or not enforce it. We’re not there yet, but we seem to be getting closer.

  2. Thanks for the info Nick. Yes, the NBA certainly had a “majesty” at that time. It has degraded into thugdom somewhat, but not like the NFL.

  3. This may have already been stated but the PGA has a brand to protect. The players have to demonstrate the ability to play to a certain standard as well as adhere to a certain code of conduct to hold one of the coveted tour cards. Their tag line of “These Guys Are Good” would certainly need to reworked.

  4. Terry, Great clip. In the NFL, when it’s windy and the football keeps falling off the kicking tee, a player needs to hold the ball. Many players are terrified of doing that. This woman had huge stones. Particularly letting Daly do it! Daly is a tragic figure, proving there is indeed an addiction gene. There is heartbreaking footage of Daly trying to dry out during a tournament. His fellow players are hugging him as he drinks a soda hoping the sugar will stop his shakes.

  5. An interesting PGA golfer, John Daly. Women, booze, smoked, and gambled away $55 million.

    Watch John tee off from a hot chicky poo’s mouth in this video.

  6. The PGA is far more concerned with the image problem brought about by cocaine and marijuana use than the marriage infidelity issue. Of course, neither cocaine or marijuana are “performance enhancing substances.” However, the LAST thing the PGA wants is for some of their golfers being known for their “substance abuse” problems. Bad for the brand. Like Andre Agassi said: “Image is EVERYTHING.” Different sport, same issue.

    I suspect the PGA is not concerned about marriage infidelity, and that it happens far more often than has become public.

  7. I imagine sleeping with your opponent’s wife would work very well to break his focus and concentration during a game.

    1. Darren – sleeping with your opponent’s wife only works on the opponent, if the opponent knows about it. Some opponents are known to take the knowledge badly and react in ways detrimental to the health and safety of the offender.

  8. We dudes got us a sports thread! But, we need some females here to weigh in on this. I would love JAG’s take on this.

  9. One good thing the incompetent Goodell is considering is softening the cannabis rules. This guys need to be blowing more weed in the NFL and drinking less booze.

  10. slohrss, The NBA had a similar problem 15-20 years ago. Bird, Magic and Jordan helped and Stern got tough. Goodell is not a good commissioner. The NFL is out of control. It has been a money printing machine for decades so everyone has turned a blind eye. It could implode.

  11. This isn’t limited to the PGA. The NFL has a very strong anti-marijuana policy and marijuana is clearly not a performance enhancing drug for football players. Josh Gordon is currently facing a year long suspension for a third strike offense, but his second strike was a DUI where his BAC was .09 and the third was a positive test for marijuana at a level 10x less than the other leagues use after having passed over 70 other random drug tests.

  12. LOL – Bruce – that’s the 1st time such a legal posturing has been proffered that “Cocaine is G-d’s way of letting you know you have too much money”

    Though my defensive argument (for the legal fiction person in stead) would be that

    G-d (purportedly) never gives you more than you can handle


    most of Jesus’s teachings are that all should forsake filthy lucre

  13. Hey Bill, being involved in marketing, the Ray Rice issue is a big problem. I personally believe the NFL is in danger of damaging their brand, on many fronts. It’s a good thing today that people have attention spans of about :30 sec or it would be in more trouble. I am a Steelers fan, and I was very troubled with how the Rooney’s and the NFL handled the Roethlisberger incident. I don’t think that would have worked out the same way if Knoll would have still been the coach. Looks like this golfer may have been on a downward spiral, and hopefully this will save him. Maybe the law guys can offer more perspective.

  14. BillH, The Ray Rice 2 game suspension is a joke. I guess if you kill your wife the NFL suspends you for 4 games.

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