From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Doug Barron files suit to overturn PGA Tour drug suspension

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Doug Barron, the PGA Tour player who recently tested positive for an banned substance, isn’t taking his suspension lightly. Instead of issuing a formal apology and taking his lumps, Barron will instead fight the ruling, while also seeking damages from the tour for defamation of character.

Barron on Thursday filed suit in Memphis, Tenn., seeking to overturn the suspension. In addition, he is asking for monetary damages, claiming the PGA Tour has defamed him because of the news release that was incomplete and resulted in stories that “unfairly labeled him as a doper and cheater,” according to the complaint. A hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Memphis.

The thrust of the complaint is that the medications for which Barron tested positive were prescribed by doctors, “for legitimate medical reasons,” including a beta-blocker, Propranol, that he had been taking for 22 years “for a condition known as mitral valve prolapse.” He also was taking testosterone shots to counter low testosterone levels. The suit alleges that Barron had sought a therapeutic-use exemption that the PGA Tour denied him. The suit said that the PGA Tour asked that he wean himself off the beta-blocker, which he was in the process of doing when he failed the test.

Honestly, do I really think Doug Barron cheated? Who knows for sure. The photos I’ve seen of him don’t give me the impression that he’s a muscle-bound roid freak. He really just looks like the average Joe golfer.

Barron’s comments regarding the beta-blocker and testosterone shots he was taking for his condition sound pretty kosher to me. I can’t wait to see what the tour’s reaction is to this whole fiasco. I’m fairly certain they’ll fight Barron’s claims, but assuming he was taking them for health reasons, you’d have to figure this would be a big black eye for the tour’s doping policy.

Pointing the finger at a guy who, by all accounts, could be innocent, would be the worst possible scenario. It would just set a precedent that the tour falsely accuses its players before getting all the facts (read: the tour is on a witch hunt to prove their doping program works prior to the Olympic games).

Barron is hoping to suspend his current suspension in time for next week’s second round of qualifying school. I guess we’ll wait and see if a judge grants him the opportunity to make it happen.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

11/13/2009 at 3:39 pm

Posted in PGA Tour, Steroids

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