Doug Barron, a 40-year-old veteran with zero PGA Tour wins, is the first golfer to be suspended under the tour's anti-doping policy. Now he will no longer terrorize the professional ranks with his massive 270-yard drives.
Barron made exactly no dollars this year on the Nationwide and PGA Tours and missed the cut in 12 of 17 starts last year. So if he was looking to enhance his performance, it sure didn't work. Unless you consider not wanting to die to be performance enhancing. More than one pro golfer who knows Barron said it is common knowledge that he's been ill and taking numerous medications just to stay healthy.
"My big question is whether he was doing something to make himself feel better and did not get the therapeutic use exemption," Jerry Kelly said. "I mean, this guy had health problems. I was shocked when I heard, but I also understand knowing that he was trying to feel better."
"I'm surprised to hear that," British Open champion Stewart Cink said. "I know him a little bit. He's taken medicine in the past for a lot of different reasons. I would think that has a lot to do with it."
"I don't believe it," Rod Pampling said. "Doug Barron? Look at the man. Tell him to take his shirt off and ask anyone, 'Do you believe he's on performance-enhancing drugs?'"
Unfortunately, we've already seen Barron with his shirt off—at the 2006 Transitions Championship—so we don't have to ask him to do it again. Even more unfortunately, the PGA will not reveal what substance Barron tested positive for, so we don't know at this point if it was one of his regular prescriptions that set off the alarms. He's barely on the PGA Tour as it is, but he's been banned for one-year, effectively ending his pro career.
So the system works, right?