Tiger Woods emphatically denies that he has ever used performance-enhancing drugs, but almost a quarter of PGA Tour players surveyed by Sports Illustrated don’t believe him. Of 71 PGA Tour players surveyed, 24 percent said they thought Woods “used HGH or other performance-enhancing drugs.” Seventy-six percent said they believed that Woods did not take any PEDs.
Questions about Woods and PEDs arose in late 2009 when a New York Times article linked Woods to Canadian doctor Anthony Galea. The Times said Galea was under criminal investigation in the United States, and that he was suspected of providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. At the Masters this month, Woods said that federal investigators had contacted his agent, Mark Steinberg, about the Galea probe, but had not asked to interview him. During that same media conference, Woods unequivocally denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs and said that Galea was treating his left leg after Woods’s knee surgery in 2008.
“(Galea) never gave me HGH or any PEDs. I’ve never taken that my entire life. I’ve never taken any illegal drug, ever, for that matter,” Woods said, going on to explain that Galea had given him “platelet-enriched plasma treatments,” a blood-spinning technique that Galea has used on many elite athletes to help them recover from surgery faster. “As you all know, in 2008 I blew out my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and part of my reconstruction with my LCL (lateral collateral ligament), it wasn’t reacting properly, it was a little bit stuck. And so I had the PRP injection into my LCL.”
At the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, Woods said that his physical therapist recommended Galea, although Woods declined to name the therapist. The New York Daily News reported in December that Woods had been treated by Mark Lindsay, a Canadian chiropractor who is a principal in a Toronto clinic with Galea, and the Times reported that it was Lindsay who asked Galea to look at Woods. Lindsay sometimes treated patients of Bay Area Lab Cooperative (BALCO) founder Victor Conte. In 2005 Conte pleaded guilty to distributing steroids and money laundering.
“A lot of guys have worked with (Galea), a lot of athletes have worked with him. Look at the list of athletes he’s worked with, it’s a who’s-who,” Woods said. “As I explained earlier at the Masters, the same thing with Dr. (Mark) Whitten with my eyes. One of the reasons why I went to see (Whitten) is because he’s worked with so many athletes and had just a tremendous amount of success, and Dr. Galea was the same.”
The Sports Illustrated survey appears in the May 3 issue of SI Golf Plus. In the annual survey, the magazine polled 71 Tour players about their views on everything from Woods’s recent sex scandals and the Ryder Cup to President Barack Obama. Only 8 percent of players surveyed said they had heard about Woods’s infidelities prior to his Thanksgiving night car accident. The complete survey is here.