LAKE 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.
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.