Barron faces uncertain future after being denied chance to play Q school

Barron's mistake, he now believes, was his failure to hire legal counsel and take action when the TUEs were denied. And now he seems to be playing catch-up in his legal battle with the Tour. In the meantime, he has recently joined some friends as an account executive on a new business venture called AdzZoo, which helps businesses get first-page placement on Google searches.

"I've prayed about it, thought about it, talked to my wife about it, talked to friends," he said. "I'm not afraid to go to work."

Where the suit goes from here is uncertain, although Barron said on Monday that he's "not going away." According to Horne, Judge Pham seemed to agree with their complaint against the Tour's handling of Barron's beta-blocker issue.

"It's not all bad news," Horne said.

It was the testosterone, he added, that the judge found most damning. Barron's attorney had argued that denying him the drug violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, since low testosterone "impairs a major life activity and that is intimacy with your wife."

Barron is the first player to be punished under the Tour's anti-doping program, which began in July 2008 after six months of player education. The Tour would randomly hand out pink slips after competitive rounds, and players, closely monitored by an agent, would march behind closed doors to fill a cup.

Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem took the first test and passed, presumably. There was no small amount of levity about the new policy. The first player tested asked if he could have a certificate, since he had launched a new era, and program administrator Allison Keller, a lawyer with the Tour for years before taking on the anti-doping cause, said she would comply.

"I hope Gatorade Tiger passes the test," Charles Howell III said after he was handed a pink slip at the AT&T National that summer. "Because I put two bottles in me."

For 16 months the Tour announced no suspensions, which meant it had found nothing in the way of performance-enhancing drugs. But then came Nov. 2, and Monday, and doping in golf didn't seem as funny.

"In no way was I trying to enhance my performance," Barron said. "I was trying to live like a healthy adult male — my sex drive was low, my energy was low. I know it's hard to get out of bed for some people, but with my [abnormally low] testosterone I just didn't ever want to get out of bed."

Barron tested positive for both substances on June 11, when he was in the process of complying with the Tour's October 2008 order to wean himself off Propranolol, his suit contends. He was still taking the beta blocker, but at a much lower dosage than he had previously. He also claims he was getting off testosterone, as the Tour told him to do in January after denying his final TUE application. He had stopped taking monthly injections in October 2008 but had a one-time shot last June. That was his second mistake.

"I knew I was going to fail it," he said of the drug test. "But I hadn't had a testosterone shot in seven months and was feeling like I felt when I couldn't get out of bed."

Young said on Friday: "He was told very clearly, 'You are not to use testosterone.' To get ready for the St. Jude Classic, he got a shot."

Shaun Micheel, a Tour pro and one of Barron's friends in Memphis, rubs testosterone cream on his shoulder for the same condition Barron claims to have. But Micheel was given a TUE for the drug after a contentious, four-month ordeal with the Tour. More than once Monday evening, Barron mentioned Micheel's willingness to stick up for himself at that early stage. Perhaps he was helped by the fact that his wife is a lawyer, Barron added.

"The testosterone shot — do I regret taking it? Yes, but I felt like I needed it. I personally thought that if Tim Finchem knew me as a person, knew my medical history, which has been documented in articles in the [Memphis] Commercial-Appeal ..." he said, his voice trailing off.

On Monday night, Barron called his wife, Leslie, back in Memphis and told her the news. She and their 8- and 3-year-old sons awaited his return, but he had already been in Houston for two weeks, trying to knock the rust off his game by playing a few mini-tour events.

It would be a nine-hour drive home, and Barron would have plenty of time to ponder his uncertain future. Playing 18 holes Tuesday sounded more appealing. After all, Horne had brought his clubs all this way.

 

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