Johnson brings new focus on life, golf to links in 2015

dustinjohnson-british3Coastal Carolina product Dustin Johnson returns from a six-month leave of absence on the PGA Tour this week at Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open.

Now a father and a husband-to-be, the more focused Johnson explained his absence by saying it gave him a renewed focus on his personal and professional lives.

“It was time to grow up, pretty much was the best way to sum it up,” Johnson said. “To me, in my eyes, I’ve just had a mediocre career so far. I feel I should be doing a lot better than that. … I don’t want to be just mediocre; I want to be great.”

To do that, he got some help from his future father-in-law and hockey’s “Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, whose daughter, Paulina, recently gave birth to the couple’s first child, a son they named Tatum Gretzky Johnson.

“There’s nothing better (than fatherhood),” Johnson said. “I was trying to think about it and how to explain it, but you can’t explain it. The feeling … everything seems so much less important except for him (Tatum).”

There were reports that Johnson took his sabbatical beginning last August because he was suspended for six months by the PGA Tour for cocaine use, but he and the Tour denied that. Johnson has said that his problem was not cocaine but vodka.

In a recent interview with ESPN, he talked of having something of a revelation on a driving range last summer, the morning after another night of hard partying. He said he realized his life was going in the wrong direction, but now has a new outlook on life and golf.

“I think my life has already changed,” said Johnson, who has won in each of his seven seasons on the PGA Tour, the longest active streak on the circuit.

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