herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Break does Johnson world of good as Rory struggles

American Dustin Johnson's break from the game appears to have served him well -- after six months out of the sport he returned last month and yesterday won the elite WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

Johnson's decision to take a 'leave of absence' from the sport prompted plenty of speculation over the reasons but the player was in no mood to elaborate in the aftermath of his win.

"Because it's personal and frankly, I just, ... it's not really anybody's business," said Johnson, who has previously stated the sabbatical was to seek help for unspecified "personal challenges".

When Johnson announced his decision to step away from golf, rumours about his lifestyle swirled, including the suggestion that he may have been suspended by the PGA Tour. The Tour, which had initially said it did not comment on rumours or speculation, released a statement saying Johnson had taken a voluntary leave of absence and had not been suspended.

Asked in a news conference yesterday if he had ever failed a Tour drugs test, Johnson replied: "No. Thanks".

The 30-year-old now has nine wins on the PGA Tour.

World number one Rory McIlroy (pictured) endured more water torture in a final round of 72 after being reunited with the three iron he threw into a lake during the second round. The club was retrieved by a diver on Saturday and presented to McIlroy on the range by Doral's owner Donald Trump.

McIlroy, who had played with 13 clubs on Saturday rather than the permitted 14, asked Trump "Is it dry?" before putting the club straight into his bag with a sheepish grin.

The 25-year-old jokingly threatened to dispose of the club in the same fashion after hitting his approach into the water with it on the 18th - having already driven into the lake - before chipping in to salvage a closing double-bogey six.

McIlroy has just one tournament left, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in a fortnight's time, before attempting to complete the career grand slam by winning the Masters. He will play practice rounds at Augusta National next week.

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