PGA Tour breaks silence in Barron case

By Rex HoggardNovember 18, 2009, 7:56 am

PGA Tour

The PGA Tour’s silence regarding the ongoing challenge to its first anti-doping violation ended on Tuesday when Rich Young publicly addressed Monday’s ruling by a U.S. magistrate regarding Doug Barron.

Young, a Colorado-based lawyer who argued on behalf of the Tour the first challenge to the circuit’s anti-doping policy on Friday in Memphis, said U.S. magistrate Tu Pham’s rejection of  Barron’s request for a restraining order to play Q-School was “encouraging,” and called the one-year suspension “fair.”

“If a player wants a (therapeutic use exemption for a banned substance) he’s given every chance to submit his medical records to a committee and ask for one,” Young said. “The question is if he didn’t get a TUE would he suffer and, in Doug’s case, the recommendation from the committee was no, he would not and that didn’t justify a TUE request.”

Barron began taking beta blockers in 1987 when he was diagnosed at age 18 with mitral valve prolapse, a heart condition that can cause chest pain and difficulty breathing. In 2005, Barron was diagnosed with low testosterone and began taking monthly injections of testosterone. Although he was taking both substances under doctor’s orders, they are both prohibited under the Tour’s anti-doping policy which began in July 2008.

Barron asked for and was denied therapeutic use exemptions for both drugs, first in 2008 for the beta blocker Propranolol and again in January 2009 for testosterone. He was told to stop using both drugs.

Young, an expert in anti-doping circles who spearheaded the litigation against convicted cyclist Floyd Landis in 2007 and helped the Tour develop its policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs, said the testosterone violation is “pretty straightforward” since Barron admitted to taking a testosterone injection shortly before testing positive on June 11 during the St. Jude Classic when symptoms from his low testosterone levels returned.

Despite almost blanket support from his fellow Tour players and a consensus among those who know the 40-year-old journeyman that he was not seeking a competitive advantage or a performance enhancement, Young said intent to gain an advantage is not an anti-doping consideration.

“Intent doesn’t factor in for a couple of reasons,” Young said. “It would be very hard to prove what’s in somebody’s head and why they used a banned substance. Secondly, the rules are clear on this. They know what they are allowed to use. Doug clearly used testosterone even though he knew he wasn’t allowed to.”

Young also addressed concerns the Tour’s punishment of Barron, who played just one Tour event in 2009 and has not made enough in the last three seasons to cover the potential $500,000 fine for his violation, was too harsh when compared to other sports like baseball, which suspended Los Angeles slugger Manny Ramirez for a blatant doping violation for 50 games this season, or one-third of a season.

“When he was told he couldn’t do (testosterone, although Young concedes Barron’s use of beta blockers is a more “complicated” issue), he may not have liked the decision, but for him to ignore the decision is a flat out intent to violate the rules,” he said. “He may not have done it to become Barry Bonds, but he was told what the rules were and chose to break them.”

Nor does Young consider Major League Baseball, an organization besieged by doping scandals, the benchmark for doping punishments. Instead, he said a similar violation under the World Anti-Doping Agency rules would result in a similar one-year penalty if not a two-year sanction.

As for where Barron’s case goes from here Young would not speculated, although he estimates it will be months, not weeks, before a challenge to the Tour-mandated suspension could be heard in court.

“No, I don’t know what he’s going to do,” he said, “but we’re encouraged by the judge’s decision.”

As for Barron, he planned to meet with his lawyers on Wednesday in Memphis to review his legal options, but his lawyer Jeffrey Rosenblum was similarly encouraged by much of Pham’s decisions.

“We saw a 33-page opinion (from Pham) that is packed full of good stuff for us,” Rosenblum said.

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 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.