Want to stop a conversation before it starts, then ask a golfer what drug they take to improve performance? Good chance you’ll be met with a stoned look and measured response.
Let’s be honest, if there was a pill available to make us play better, then drug companies would be making millions, and the sport would instantly see new players. Who would have thought prescription golf pills might grow the game? The most common drug available around the first tee is Ibuprofen. The most common source of comfort at the 19th hole is alcohol. It’s not proven that Ibuprofen helps your game only that it assists in reducing pain, so you can play 18 holes and then pay off your bets while claiming you had a bad back, wrist or elbow.
Enough about how alcohol and drugs might help amateurs like me before, during and after a round, let’s get straight to the controversy of whether the PGA Tour should test players for recreational drugs. More importantly, should PGA Tour superstar and world-ranked No. 6 Dustin Johnson be suspended for six months for doing a little marijuana and cocaine on his own free time? Everyone makes a few mistakes once in a while, an occasional choke here or there, but I question the PGA Tour’s drug policy. On what basis can the PGA Tour suspend Dustin Johnson for six months when he is an independent contractor?
Johnson, and all Tour players, are not employees of the PGA Tour, but rather, they are self-employed, only earning a weekly paycheck based on performance. If a player wants to get stoned and wasted after missing the cut, then let it be. They’re destined for more missed cuts and a short career. Unlike major league baseball, football and hockey, PGA Tour players do not receive a guaranteed salary for showing up. They are not contracted employees within a team or organization. Drug-testing for steroids and performance-enhancing drugs is a big deal and a fair policy for all competitors to agree to, so the PGA Tour slowly and reluctantly implemented a policy on July 1, 2008.
What’s missing is transparency. According to my research only one player, Doug Barron, on November 3, 2009, was suspended by the PGA Tour for one year after testing positive for supplemental testosterone and beta-blocker. The problem with that suspension is that Barron was diagnosed in 1987 with a heart murmur that required doctorprescribed beta-blockers and occasional testosterone injections. The Tour eventually granted Barron therapeutic-use exemption. Guess what? Steroids don’t improve golf scores! Another puzzling decision involving the PGA Tour and its alleged enforcement of its drug-testing policy involves Vijay Singh, who admitted in 2011 to using deer-antler spray.
Deer-antler spray is a substance for which the Tour doesn’t even test, yet Singh was suspended, under a mysterious cloud of secrecy, which is how the Tour operates. Guess what? Deer-antler spray does not improve your golf swing. Singh has a legal dispute pending with the PGA Tour, and for good reason, and Dustin Johnson should do the same thing. Marijuana and cocaine did not help Johnson log one win, two seconds, seven top-10s and earn $4.2 million this season.
Since the PGA Tour has a pretend drug policy should Tour players be tested for marijuana and cocaine? And, if found to test positive, should they be subject to disciplinary action. My answer is No and No.
Tom Gorman thinks only dopes do dope, but will try dope if it improves his putting and chipping.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?