Barron relieved to have doping ban dropped
The first man to run afoul of the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy will be the first to tell you that now that his one-year suspension has been lifted, and a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) granted, his only thought is getting back to work.
“You can’t imagine how relieved I am,” Barron said. “People go through stresses and play but this stress has been overbearing. Now I feel like I can compete with everybody on an even playing field.”
The TUE, which was the third requested by Barron, will allow him to continue to treat his low testosterone. He said he has not undergone a treatment since he tested positive for using an anabolic steroid testosterone and a beta-blocker at the 2009 St. Jude Classic.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw confirmed to the Associated Press in an e-mail Barron’s suspension is over. Votaw said the Tour will provide no additional information on the exemption
Barron said he already has sent in his application for the second stage of Q-School, which will be played the third week of November in Houston, and will play a Peachtree Tour event this week followed by a Hooters Tour event in Alabama.
“I just need to get some tournament rounds under my belt,” he said. “I haven’t played in a tournament since May. I just wanted all of this to be settled before I would play again.”
Barron said he is no longer taking propranolol, a beta-blocker that calms nerves that he had been taking since 1987 for a racing heart. “I’m glad I’m off that. It’s a terrible drug,” he said.
Since going on the shelf last year Barron said he’s been able to spend more time in the gym, “working out like crazy,” and has lost 10 pounds. But now he said he’s thankful he can turn his attention back to golf.
“I was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about the (Boston) Celtics and guys playing their way back into game shape,” Barron said. “Now I have to play my way back into golfing shape, but I’m confident.”
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So much for easing into the new year.
McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.
“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”
McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.
To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.
“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.
“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”
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Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.