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Golf Australia Express : March 2013
GOLFERS TAKE illegal performance-enhancing substances. There. We said it. There is someone on Tour right now who’s got something they shouldn’t have inside his or her body. And we’d all best accept it or the next 1000 words or so are going to be fairly rough reading. You already know that at least one of the PGA Tour’s big boys has crossed the line, with Vijay Singh currently facing a possible stint off the fairways for using a now- infamous deer antler spray that contained a banned ingredient called IGF-1, a natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth. The golf world is still awaiting what kind of spray of its own the PGA Tour will dish out to 50-year-old. “Under our doping rules, unlike our conduct rules, we are required to announce any kind of suspensions that emanate from the use of PEDs or other violations of the doping code,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last month. “And if that is forthcoming, we will announce it in due course.” Whether or not Vijay is eventually banned this late in his career, he won’t be the only one caught up in the wash. While there was no suggestion golf was on the Australian Sports Commission’s hit list when it released its controversial but damning report into doping, it’s unfathomable that someone isn’t out there trying to illegally gain an edge on the greens. The odds are simply too great. It’s like the argument for and against the existence of life in another universe. It’s a statistical impossibility that we’re alone. But enough philosophising. Almost every other professional sport has been embroiled in drugs controversies with alarming consistency over the past decade. Baseball? Take your pick of great players who’ve dabbled— or worse—in things they shouldn’t. Tennis? Yep. Athletics? Haha. Why would golf somehow be isolated from the drugs scourge? Because it’s a gentleman’s game? Hardly. The money is too big and the stakes too high for some athletes not to run the gauntlet. The innate nature of the sport (slow, cerebral and with a premium on touch and finesse) suggests that performance-enhancing drugs would play less of a role than in high impact, speed-based pursuits. That, however, doesn’t make it safe. At its core, golf—particularly with courses that continue to stretch and equipment that rewards those who can slug their ball into tomorrow—is more a power game now than it’s ever been. So what happens if you’re a mid to low-level pro who can’t quite crack the big time, or someone who continues to be halted by injuries every time you look like making a decent run? You’ve almost certainly done all you can in the gym and on the track to make your body as strong as it can (naturally) be. Enter the chemists, and enter temptation. Heard of Doug Barron? (No drug baron jokes please.) Barron, a golfing journeyman, failed to make a splash during his decade on the PGA and Nationwide Tours, with his best finish Singh is facing a stint off the fairways for using a deer antler spray that contains a banned ingredient called IGF-1, a natural anabolic hormone. Deer antler spray—such as this one— contains IGF-1, a growth hormone that aids muscle growth. It is on the PGA Tour's banned substances list. COVER the COVER the
April 2013-The Masters