Judge to make ruling on Barron case by early Saturday

By Rex HoggardNovember 14, 2009, 2:11 am

PGA TourLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Doug Barron’s legal and professional fate will likely have to wait at least one more day.

Lawyers for the 40-year-old journeyman, who became the first player to run afoul of the PGA Tour’s performance-enhancing drug policy Nov. 2, challenged the circuit’s suspension on Friday in a Memphis federal court, asking a federal magistrate to grant an injunction that would allow Barron to play the second stage of Q-School next week in Houston.

After nearly four hours of deliberations, U.S. Magistrate Judge Tu Pham retired to make his decision. According to Barron’s agent, Art Horne, Pham could make a decision on his client’s fate tonight or as late as Saturday morning.

Doug Barron
Doug Barron was the first player suspended by the Tour under the doping policy. (Getty Images)

At issue is Barron’s one-year Tour suspension for testing positive for beta blockers and testosterone, both banned by the Tour’s PED policy but medically prescribed by Barron’s doctor for low testosterone and a heart condition he has had since he was 18.

The lawsuit which was originally filed in Shelby (Tenn.) County Court on Thursday seeks unspecified monetary damages and injunctive relief for defamation of character and a policy that his lawyers say denied Barron’s judicial review.

“We felt that the clause that denied him his due process was unconscionable,” Horne said. “If I were a PGA Tour player I would be following this very closely because unlike other sports that have unions and protections there are no protections for Tour players.”

The Tour has declined to comment any further on the case beyond its press release that was issued Nov. 2 which simply stated Barron had violated the policy and would be suspended for one year.

The Tour was represented on Friday by Colorado-based Rich Young, an attorney who has worked on many high-profile doping cases including the Floyd Landis conviction and helped craft the Tour’s PED policy which began in July 2008.

Regardless of Pham’s decision, Horne said Barron would continue to legally challenge the suspension, essentially a two-year ban because of the normal timing of the first stage of Q-School, which ended this year on Oct. 30 and would be during Barron’s suspension.

“At the end of the day he has to be able to take care of his family,” Horne said.

Barron’s attorney, Jeffrey Rosenblum, said the Tour singled out Barron rather than better known players to make it look like it is cracking down on its policy, but he alleged that as many as 10 current pros have taken illegal drugs but were not suspended. He said he would seek details from the PGA Tour during the discovery process.

On Friday at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World Resort players continued to voice shock that Barron had become the first to violate the policy.

“We should probably let him play second stage,” said Tom Pernice Jr., a member of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council.

Horne said Barron was in Houston preparing for the second-stage of event, which begins on Wednesday.

“He’s in a good place mentally and has prayed a lot about it.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm