Patel violates Tour's PED policy, suspended for a year


The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that third-year pro Bhavik Patel has been suspended for a year after violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy.

In a statement, Patel, 24, said that he made a “lapse of judgment” regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances. He is eligible to return Oct. 7, after accepting a provisional suspension last fall.

“In an effort to overcome an injury, I made a lapse of judgment,” Patel said. “I regret my decision but have learned from the experience and look forward to returning to competition.” 

The Tour did not disclose which substance triggered Patel's positive test. 

Patel, who last year finished 114th on the Tour money list after making 12 starts, is the second known player to be suspended for the use of PEDs. Doug Barron violated the drug policy in 2009 after testing positive for supplemental testosterone and a beta-blocker, both of which were prescribed by a doctor. 

In 2013, Vijay Singh was originally suspended by the PGA Tour after admitting to using deer-antler spray, which contains IGF-1, a banned substance in all major sports leagues. But the Tour reversed its decision after the World Anti-Doping Agency refined its ruling on the use of IGF-1. 

The PGA Tour began drug testing in 2008, with penalties ranging from a one-year suspension for a first offense to a lifetime ban if the player is caught three times. The Tour reports penalties for drug-testing violations, but has never disclosed fines or suspensions for such things as conduct unbecoming of a professional. 

Like Barron, Patel is relatively unknown to golf fans. He played college golf at Fresno State, where he reached the U.S. Amateur semifinals in 2009 and was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection, but he left school with one semester remaining. After turning pro in fall 2012, he earned his Tour card via Q-School and has toiled with little success on golf’s developmental circuit. He has never played in a PGA Tour event and is currently No. 971 in the Official World Ranking.