On November 2nd, Nationwide Tour pro, Doug Barron, became the first player to fail the PGA Tour’s new drug policy and was issued a one-year suspension for his violation. In response, Barron filed a civil lawsuit this last Thursday against the PGA Tour, seeking monetary damages and a temporary restraining order against the Tour which, if granted, would allow him to play in the second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament on Nov. 18-21st.
The lawsuit filed by Barron’s lawyers clarifies the banned substances that Barron tested positive for: testosterone and beta-blockers. The lawsuit also claims that Barron has been taking beta-blockers since he was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in 1987. Barron has also suffered from anxiety attacks for years, a fact that was widely known on Tour and that he shared with at least one reporter. In 2005, he was diagnosed with abnormally low testosterone by his local urologist. The condition affects fellow Tour pro Shaun Micheel, among others, and leads to feelings of lethargy and depression. His agent, Art Horne, said Barron last took a testosterone shot in June. Since then, Barron has switched from non-conforming beta-blockers to a similarly acting but conforming drug, Horne added.
The lawsuit lends credence to the theory that many Tour-watchers believed from the start, that Barron, an unimposing-looking 40-year-old without a victory, had inadvertently broken the rules. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Barron stated this, “I’ve never tried to gain any advantage over my peers.” And in a recent ESPN article he stated, “There is no way to enhance my performance at the level I was at…I was trying to live a healthy life as an adult male as seen by my physician that was treating me for good health.”
In a recent article from golf.com, Barron’s agent Horne stated, “This was never a case of a guy in a back room taking creams or using needles,” but rather, “[t]his was a guy taking what was prescribed to him by medical doctors for conditions that others have been given exemptions for. We feel Doug has been treated unfairly.” It is nice to see that Barron’s agent took appropriate actions by addressing the media directly and explaining his client’s position on the matter. Whether or not they are true remains to be seen.