Anthony Galea, the doctor who treated Tiger Woods during Woods's recovery from his 2008 knee surgery, accepted a plea deal Wednesday after being charged with smuggling illegal drugs into the U.S. and lying about it to border agents. He will not stand trial, but he has agreed to cooperate with investigators. Could that cooperation include naming former clients and revealing the methods he used to treat them? SI.com's Michael McCann explores.
As part of his plea deal, he agrees to share information with federal investigators. While the details of the information sharing are unknown, investigators are likely interested in two groups: those who distributed illegal drugs to Galea and those whom Galea treated.Woods has said Galea used plasma-spinning techniques during his rehab from knee surgery, but that no illegal drugs were involved in the treatment. Galea has also stated that his treatments help athletes recover, not cheat.
The distributors are a far more important target of information for federal authorities than the users. Shutting down the distribution of illegal drugs to doctors like Galea would have a greater social impact than going after those who used the drugs. Along those lines, notice how the government's prosecution of athletes who allegedly used illegal performance enhancers has centered not on the illegal drug use, but rather on the supposed lying under oath about the drug use. That has been true of the Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Marion Jones prosecutions, among others.
Still, Galea could share damaging information, such as records that detail treatments rendered to athletes and how much and how often they used illegal performance enhancers.
The Buffalo News also interviewed one of Galea's attorneys, who said that even if Galea reveals the names of his star clients, Woods shouldn't be worried.
"He did not receive Nutropin [a form of HGH]," Brian Greenspan, one of Galea's Toronto lawyers, said of Woods. "In fairness to Tiger Woods, he received only one of the four treatments."Mickelson believes Woods will be back Woods recently announced that he'll be skipping next week's British Open, the second consecutive major he's missed while recovering from knee and Achilles injuries. Despite the uncertainty surrounding Tiger's game, one of his biggest rivals, Phil Mickelson, still feels Tiger will one day return to his winning ways, according to the UK's Guardian.
Woods, according to Greenspan, underwent platelet rich plasma treatment, a therapy often used to accelerate the healing of tendon injuries and one of the four treatments Galea is accused of using on U.S. athletes.
"I really believe that if you have played golf at the level he has played it, you just don't forget how to play. He is going to get it back to close to the level he was at before, if not where he was at," said Mickelson, who backed Woods's decision to take an extended break from the sport in order to recover.Weir continues long road back Mike Weir has struggled mightily to get his game back after an elbow injury last year. Just how far has he fallen? Last week the 2003 Masters champion played the weekend at the AT&T National, which was his first made cut since January. He went on to tie for 70th, and told Montreal's Gazette it was a postive result as he tries to get back on track.
"But I just don't see how it is possible for that to happen until he is fully healthy. Waiting for however long it takes for him to be healthy before he resumes competitive play is going to be a plus for him in the long run. Ultimately, he'll be back to where he was before."
"I got into bad habits with my game when I was injured," Weir said. "I'm trying to iron them out and take the things that I'm working on and trust them. "I need to start finding some more fairways and I need to start having fun myself," he said. "Finding fairways and making some putts brings the enjoyment back. Playing out of the trees and deep rough is not much fun at all."