Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Would the Tour have Tiger's back if he tested positive?

Doug Barron, a fringe PGA Tour golfer, is the only one to run afoul of the PGA Tour's drug testing program. Barron lost a motion that would have allowed him to compete in Qualifying School with the hopes of earning his PGA Tour card.

Barron had a reason for failing the drug test and had alerted the PGA Tour earlier about various medications his doctor had prescribed. The PGA Tour denied his therapeutic use exemption and told him to get off the drugs. By not following the Tour's advice earlier, Barron paid the ultimate price.

With only one golfer ensnared by the drug program, would the PGA Tour suspend Tiger Woods if he tested positive for a banned substance? Magic 8 ball says, "Not looking likely."

It's a classic example of where doing the right thing, financially cripples the organization. Could the PGA Tour afford to suspend Tiger for a year? The LPGA has lost events for the past two years. The statistics show that ratings and attendance are up when Tiger is playing. With that in mind, the Tour knows who butters their bread and would be hard pressed to do the right thing if a sample came back positive.

Who knows, maybe Tiger, like Jordan before him, will decide to pick up a new sport while at the peak of his career. Conspiracy theorists would have a field day.

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