Doug Barron, the only player suspended for violation of the PGA Tour’s drug policy, told Golfweek that he has been granted a “therapeutic use exemption’’ by the Tour.
“I’m pleased to announce that they granted me a TUE for testosterone that will allow me to treat my condition in compliance with the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy,” Barron said in a statement released by his attorney, Jeff Rosenblum. “After now having completed my one-year suspension, I look forward to again being eligible to compete on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour.”
Barron, 41, started testosterone treatment Wednesday morning in Memphis, Tenn., and will look toward second stage of Q-School this fall.
Barron had filed a lawsuit against the Tour, claiming that he met the definition of “disabled’’ under the Americans With Disabilities Act because low testosterone “impairs a major life activity,’’ Rosenblum said, “and that is intimacy with your wife.’’ That lawsuit has been resolved, Rosenblum said from his office in Memphis, and will be dismissed soon.
“Doug is thrilled to put this behind him,’’ Rosenblum said.
Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communications, cited Tour policy in declining to confirm whether a TUE had been granted and thus would not comment on the lawsuit.
The Tour suspended Barron on Nov. 2 for using the beta blocker Propranolol and exogenous testosterone. Both drugs, Barron says, were prescribed by a physician. They also are deemed to be prohibited substances on the Tour’s anti-doping list.
Barron began taking testosterone in 2005 because his natural level was below the level considered normal.
He started using beta blockers at age 18 when diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, a heart problem in which the valve that separates the upper and lower chambers of the left side of the heart does not close properly.
Two previous requests by Barron for a therapeutic use exemption had been denied. In October 2008, three months after the Tour enacted its drug policy, Barron was instructed to stop taking Propranolol. In January 2009, he was denied a TUE for exogenous testosterone.
Barron tested positive at his hometown event last year, the St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
Barron played a full Nationwide schedule last year, making only five cuts in 17 starts to earn $33,446. He played four times on the Nationwide Tour this year, and his lone PGA Tour start came in Memphis, where he missed the cut. He played eight full seasons on the Tour, with his best finish a tie for third at the Byron Nelson Championship in 2005.