Darryl Strawberry, Derek Boogaard, Josh Hamilton, Ricky Williams, Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe, Roy Tarpley, Len Bias. All have something in common – drugs affected their careers. And one, due to drugs, never got his career started. Notice how on this list, and among the most famous of all of the athletes with drug problems, there are no golfers. Are we somehow supposed to believe that, other than John Daly’s alcohol-related problems, no other golfer has suffered from any type of substance abuse? Well, thanks to Dustin Johnson, we can now see that this is most likely not the case.
We all know already that the PGA is very quiet about their inner-workings. We know they fine the players, but unlike the other major sports, we rarely know when or ever find out how much. Suspensions however? Well that’s a different story. It’s only when you begin putting two and two together that you begin to figure things out.
After news leaked that Dustin Johnson was being suspended due to a positive test for cocaine, it was followed shortly thereafter by news from the PGA that he was not suspended, he was leaving on his own to deal with, what was it…”personal challenges?” Along with that story was news that Johnson had two or three previous drug-related incidents as well. Do the powers that be not realize that, in this day and age, if there is a story to be leaked, it’s going to be leaked? But like everything else in the PGA, they have not yet realized it’s now the 21st century. Information is everywhere and accessible to anyone. All it takes is one untrustworthy person.
Now I can understand the players right to privacy. If I had a drug-problem that caused me to be suspended from my job, I would not want it to be public knowledge either. But of course, people don’t spend money to see me push a pencil around my desk. And therein lies the problem. Fans of a player or sport spend money to see each – and they believe that entitles them to the right to knowledge. Are they right? Maybe. Fans don’t want to be deceived. They don’t want to feel cheated or lied to. So when, what appears to be a cover-up, surfaces…naturally people are going to be upset and call other occurrences into question. People have already begun questioning Johnson’s supposed jet-ski accident two years ago. Was he hurt, or was he actually suspended due to one of his previous positive drug tests?
To the PGA – the bottom line is the fans want the truth. They spend money to watch your tournaments live. They spend money to watch them on TV. Many make purchases based on what players on the tour use. They do not want to find out that the wool is being pulled over their eyes. With golf in it’s current state, the last thing they need is another avoidable scandal.
Swing ’til you’re happy!