The most gossipy thing to ever happen in golf involved Tiger Woods escaping his house in the middle of the night, crashing into a tree and then… well you know the rest. The scandal was epic in scope but quite basic at its core: a cheating athlete in a system designed to protect him.
Tiger was no ordinary golfer though; he was a once-in-a-generation play who broke racial boundaries and his appearances in tournaments became events. Tiger is on a comeback right now, playing better than he has in years. If you watch the Golf Channel like my house does (it’s always on), you would know that the commentators, the tournament organizers, and even the other players, want Tiger to play his best because it’s good for the game. It brings in more ratings, which equals more sponsorship. Also, it makes casual fans care. Even a sport that caters to old white guys wants that shine.
And while other players are successful, and have been pushed as “the next Tiger”, no one has even come close to his level of fame. These days, when I am coerced into watching a tournament, I only care about Tiger. If he is out, I focus on Dustin Johnson because of his relationship with Paulina Gretzky. (I love it when he makes it to Sunday because I like to scope out her outfit and see if she’s wearing her Hermes belt, a detail I often focus on when I write about her in Smutty Social Media.) Sometimes Wayne and Janet will show up. The Gretzky name is royalty in Canada, so I consider it my civic duty to care about Paulina.
I’m not the only one. For years, Dustin was way more famous than his game warranted because of his relationship with her. She covered Golf Digest in 2014 – it caused a stir. And the boy has his issues. Golf.com has reported on his alleged relationship with another golfer’s wife, Alli Mackenzie. In 2014 he failed three drug tests and was suspended by the PGA. Paulina has been credited with being the support system behind his game, while her father Wayne – one of the most famous and beloved professional athletes to ever live - was instrumental in helping him “straighten up.” They have two children. It is a life.
Earlier this week, Paulina scrubbed Dustin from her Instagram feed in a very obvious and deliberate way. As I noted in Smutty Social Media, she didn’t unfollow him (or his brother/caddy Austin). Paulina’s mom, the eternal MILF Janet Gretzky, didn’t unfollow Dustin. And his Instagram remains untouched – her photos are up. But obviously the chatter continued to grow, especially in a world as buttoned-up and repressed as golf – they love to gossip, but pretend they don’t. Yesterday, Dustin took to Twitter to release this statement.
Every relationship goes through its ups and downs, but most importantly, we love each other very much and are committed to being a family. Thank you for your love and support.— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) September 11, 2018
He doesn’t confirm a breakup and emphasize their status as a family. As a woman reading this, it’s pretty clear that Dustin done f-cked up. We see you, dumb dumb.
There’s also been a predictable turn of events: a pretty socialite is being blamed for the breakup. Her name is Yassie Safai and she denies hooking up with Dustin. She says she’s met him a few times (at a private golf club) and retweeted him (like many do) but has no significant relationship with him and nothing to do with Paulina. Just a fan. So, is this a Rachel Uchitel situation– is Yassie trying to protect Dustin like Rachel tried to protect Tiger in the early days? If so, I wish she wouldn’t. The mistress is the first one hung out to dry.
But I get a sense that she is being honest – some Internet sleuth saw her golf shots and her retweets and figured this must be it. Bad gossip timing (for her). If she was having an affair with him and wanted to drop some hints, why would she turn around and deny it when it finally came out? If her long game is to facilitate a breakup, she would either keep quiet or play coy and cute (remember Chrissy O’s “this girl is on fire”)?
TMZ is also on the story, asserting that Dustin and Paulina have not broken up but, and this is curious for TMZ, their sources would not elaborate on the Instagram scrub. Judging by his statement, he’s working overtime to repair his relationship with Paulina. Or at least get himself back on her ‘gram before his next tournament.