Dustin Johnson will be watching the finale of the FedEx Cup playoffs from his couch this weekend, but the controversial PGA Tour star will still cash a check for $175,000.
Johnson has not played a Tour event since he announced on July 31 that he was taking a leave of absence from the game to address “personal issues.” One day later, Golf.com reported that Johnson had failed a drug test for cocaine.
Despite missing the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoff series—which concludes Sunday with the Tour Championship in Atlanta—Johnson accumulated enough points earlier in the year to still finish 30th in the season-long race, guaranteeing him a $175,000 payday. That’s more than three times the median household income in the United States ($51,017) for not working, but Johnson could have earned considerably more.
The long-hitting American, who is engaged to model Paulina Gretzky, was a well-placed fourth in the FedEx Cup standings before leaving the Tour. The winner of the FedEx Cup this weekend earns a staggering $10 million bonus. Fourth place pays $1.5 million.
The field for the Tour Championship is the smallest of the year, with just the top 30 in the FedEx Cup race eligible to compete. While Johnson remains in the top 30, according to the PGA Tour he will not be entitled to collect the last-place prize money at the event, which is $122,000. Tour rules only allow that money to be distributed to players who are forced to miss the event due to personal emergencies, injuries or other disabilities.
Johnson began his abbreviated 2013-14 season with a victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions last November and went on to notch seven top-10 finishes, the second-most in his career. He missed the cut in the Masters, tied for 4th at the U.S. Open and 12th at the British Open, but did not play the year’s final major, the PGA Championship. He will also miss the Ryder Cup. Johnson was a part of the 2010 and 2012 Ryder Cup teams and was a guaranteed qualifier for this year's squad before his departure from the Tour.