Doug Barron is facing a career crossroads.
Since his one-year suspension for violating the PGA Tour’s drug policy ended late last year, Barron, 41, has been trying to put his life and his game back together.
Barron, whose treatment for low testosterone made the journeyman the first player to be suspended under the Tour’s nearly 3-year-old drug-testing policy, failed at second stage of Q-School last year. Now, he has some decisions to make. Foremost among them: Can he still compete on Tour?
His play this year will be pivotal, he said. If Barron doesn’t regain his Tour card for 2012, he said he will move on.
“I wanted to give myself one more great shot, knowing that I was playing on a level playing field,” Barron said after a recent workout. “The Tour said I was cheating, and I wasn’t cheating. I was just trying to be even with everyone else.”
Barron received a two-year therapeutic use exemption, known as a TUE, last year for testosterone replacement therapy. His last Tour event was the 2009 St. Jude Classic in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., where he missed the cut. He had two top-10s in his last full season on Tour, 2006, when he lost his Tour card. A T-3 in the 2005 Byron Nelson Classic represents his best finish in 111 career starts on Tour.
With the prescription drug Testopel, Barron thinks he finally can return to a Tour-level game.
He has failed at three Monday qualifiers on Tour this year but is eager to get himself back onto golf’s biggest stage. To do it, he is willing to compete anywhere.
“I’ve got life energy again. It’s not like I’m going to be Camilo Villegas,” he said, drawing an obvious distinction with perhaps the hardest of the Tour’s hardbodies, “but I can work out and play golf in one day and walk. Today, we walked at Whisper Rock. I came home, (and) I just did an hour-and-10-minute workout and I’m not ready to go to bed. I’m like a normal person again. It’s kind of crazy. My brain is calmer. I’m able to think clearly again.”