PGA Tour suspension of journeyman golfer tells us very little
So it’s come to light that Doug Barron, a little known player who lost his PGA Tour card three years ago, is the first to be suspended for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.
Barron only played one PGA tour event and a handful of Nationwide tournaments this year. The PGA Tour isn’t saying what he tested positive for, and Barron hasn’t divulged what the substance is either. Barron, a 40-year-old from Memphis, did issue an apology, though, for any “negative perception of the tour or its players” resulting from his suspension, which is a year. That’s right, a year, and not some 50-game suspension like Manny Ramirez got in baseball.
Now, we’re only left to speculate, except that this is so under the radar because of Barron’s anonymity that I’m afraid most golf fans really don’t care. He’s ranked 887th in the world, although he did finish second at the 2006 EDS Byron Nelson at the Four Seasons Resort near Dallas. If it were Tiger Woods or even Jim Furyk, this would be all over the dial.
It is still interesting, though, to see the limited reaction on the Web. Many golf fans assume it’s some kind of steroid or human growth hormone, and it very well could be. Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel said he reported a few years ago that Barron and former PGA champ Shaun Micheel were both treated for testosterone deficiencies. (You can draw your own conclusions if you like.)
What many don’t understand is that although power and speed are both desirable attributes in golf, the biggest difference between top players and guys struggling to get their cards is around and on the greens. And steroids generally don’t help you there; they probably hurt (sorry, Tiger haters).
Years ago, the performance enhancing drug of choice in golf was beta-blockers, which is used to treat high blood pressure. Some believe it also controls the yips and helps calm the nerves, which could be more beneficial than steroids in a sport that’s all about being cool under pressure. For what it’s worth, Nick Price, who once took beta-blockers for high blood pressure, didn’t like the effect it had on him and switched medications.
So who knows what poor Doug Barron tested positive for? It’s too bad we’re only left to use our imagination.
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All true. But there are other areas of the game where 'roids WOULD give golfers an unfair advantage. Keep in mind that "taking steroids" does not have to mean gaining huge amounts of unsightly muscle. Low doses could still help golfers combat fatigue, especially as the years rack up and it gets late in the season. Lower doses wouldn't have to result in an amount of muscle that would help a little guy rip the ball 330 yards off the tee, but they WOULD STILL BE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE.