Drug suspension lifted Barron heads to Q-School

By Doug FergusonNovember 15, 2010, 11:16 pm

Doug Barron had a marathon day of golf by his standards, leaving him more excited than he was exhausted.

Only a few months ago, he had no energy for anything, even after a long night of sleep. Last week in Houston, Barron played 18 holes in the wind at a mini-tour event, then drove 90 miles across town to play nine holes at Redstone Golf Club, where the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School starts Tuesday.

“It was great having my energy back,” he said in a telephone interview.

Now he’s trying to get his job back.

Barron, the first player suspended under the tour’s anti-doping policy, returns to the PGA Tour on Tuesday at Q-School, among those facing a long road back to the big leagues. For the 41-year-old Barron, his path includes an unprecedented detour.

The one-year suspension was lifted in September, with Barron granted a therapeutic use exemption for low testosterone. He didn’t have the exemption last year at the St. Jude Classic, when he was randomly picked for drug testing at his only PGA Tour start. His lawsuit against the tour has been settled. All he wants to think about now is his golf.

“I’ve been preparing for this day for more than a year,” Barron said.

He did not resume taking testosterone until after he was approved for the exemption, and Barron says it has been “the best seven weeks of my life.” His strength and spirits restored, he set out to get back in golf shape before Q-School.

Instead of trying to Monday qualify for tour events, he went looking for competition on mini-tours, playing six times. He finished 13th in his last two-day tournament, earning $750. The previous event he was seventh and made $1,100.

“Vacation money for when I retire,” he said with a laugh.

There has been little to laugh about until recently.

The stunning news that a player had violated the tour’s doping policy was tempered by the fact it was Barron. He had played only eight full years on tour, never making more than $461,981 in any season. He is best remembered for taking his shirt off to play a shot out of the water at Innisbrook in 2006, exposing a physique that did little to persuade skeptics that golf is an athletic endeavor.

And that injection of testosterone he says he took three weeks before the St. Jude Classic?

“The idea that one shot could help someone out here is a joke,” he said.

Barron has coped with health issues most of his life, including mitral valve prolapse as a teenager that landed him on beta blockers. Four years ago, doctors found his testosterone level to be that of an 80-year-old man. He began taking a steroid to get his level back to normal, and two years later, the tour’s doping policy began.

Barron was denied an exemption, and for the next eight months was miserable.

“I couldn’t get out of bed. I was tired. I had no sex drive,” he said. “I decided to get back on testosterone, and my doctors had no problem with me doing it.”

Barron said the testosterone level of his 69-year-old father was higher than his, so he had one shot of the steroid about three weeks before the St. Jude Classic, where he received a sponsor’s exemption as a hometown player. The results came back a little more than month later, and when the suspension was handed down, he chose not to appeal.

“The reason we decided not to appeal was we had to fly all my doctors and all my attorneys to Jacksonville (Fla.) to listen to a committee in the court system of (PGA Tour Commissioner) Tim Finchem. And I thought, ‘Heck with that, we can’t win,”’ Barron said. “We filed a deal in federal court.”

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said in an e-mail that the lawsuit has been dismissed. Barron said it had been “resolved” and that he was precluded from saying anything else because of a confidentiality agreement. His good friend and one of his attorneys, Arthur Horne, would only say, “We’re pleased with outcome.”

Barron is simply glad it’s behind him.

He is happy he was able to spend more time with his two children last year. The worst of it was the lack of energy, the strain on his marriage for not feeling as if he could support his family. His wife, Leslie, is a contemporary folk artist who was doing her best to help pay the bills. There also was a lawsuit that seemed to drag on.

“I hold no grudges against the tour,” he said. “They did what they thought was right, and I did what I thought was right. I’m back taking testosterone. I have a chance again, and I’m confident I can do it.”

He’ll find out starting Tuesday, when he tries to get through the second stage of Q-School with hopes of getting to the six-round final stage in December, a grind like no other in golf.

“I’m glad I can move on with my life,” Barron said. “I’m going to keep playing until I don’t think I’m good enough anymore.”

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.