Robert Garrigus suspended 3 months for violating PGA Tour anti-doping policy
PGA Tour

Robert Garrigus suspended 3 months for violating PGA Tour anti-doping policy


PGA Tour veteran Robert Garrigus has been suspended 3 months by the PGA Tour for a violation of its Anti-Doping Program.

The Tour released a statement Friday announcing the penalty, making Garrigus eligible to play again under the PGA Tour umbrella in late June, after the US Open. In its statement, the PGA Tour indicated Garrigus had tested positive for what's termed a "drug of abuse" under its regulations. These are drugs which may not necessarily enhance a player's performance (i.e., performance-enhancing drugs, or PEDs) but would be considered a crime to use as they are illicit or cannot be used without a prescription from a doctor.

The 41-year-old Garrigus has made seven starts on the PGA Tour this season, missing the cut in five, including his last start at the Puerto Rico Open in February. Through a  Twitter account claiming to be Garrigus (though unverified, and this was the first tweet from said account), a statement was issued which reads:

First, I want to apologize to my family, my sponsors, my fellow competitors and the PGA Tour for my actions. Second, I would like to apologize to my fans, many whom have supported me throughout my career as I shared my story of overcoming addiction and achieving my dream of playing on the PGA Tour. I sincerely apologize and hope I can make it up to all of you through my future actions.

After a long period of sobriety, I had a relapse and subsequently failed a drug test for marijuana. A drug, that although legal in many states, is not permitted by the PGA Tour's anti-doping rules. I mention that it is legal in many states not as an excuse, but as as word of warning to many people who use or try marijuana. Legal doesn't mean it isn't addictive and legal doesn't mean there aren't potentially severe consequences if you use it.

I will use this time away from golf to be with my family and work on regaining my sobriety. It doesn't matter if you are one day, one week or nine years clean; one misstep, one lapse in judgment can impact your life in monumental fashion. As I have said over the years, I am grateful for and inspired by those who have shared how my story has helped them gain a clean lifestyle. I hope this new chapter in my life will now show people to never relax in their battle with addiction.

Under the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program, "drugs of abuse" violations are not subject to penalty under that program. Rather, they are handled through the PGA Tour's Tournament Regulations for Conduct Unbecoming of a Professional. Hence, the length of Garrigus' suspension is different compared to anti-doping program violations for substances considered performance-enhancing drugs. These penalties can also include mandatory medical treatment and/or rehabilitation.

The PGA Tour also has the discretion to not publish "drugs of abuse" violations.

According to the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program manual, "drugs of abuse" include: natural or synthetic marijuana, cocaine, meth, PCP, DMA, BZP, Fentanyl, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone and other drugs.

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Ryan Ballengee

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