Jul
7
2015
Stallings suspended for inadvertently taking prohibited supplement
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Scott Stallings has been suspended for three months for violating the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy. Stallings, a three-time winner on Tour, started taking a supplement last December (“DHEA, an anabolic agent that is the precursor to testosterone production and banned by the Tour,” according to GolfChannel.com’s report) to help with his chronic fatigue.

At the time, Stallings didn’t realize it was a prohibited substance, but once he figured it out, he turned himself in.

“I discovered in February 2015 that I had inadvertently taken a supplement for the prior two months that was not permitted by the PGA TOUR,” said Stallings in a joint statement with the Tour. “I did so on the recommendation of my physician due to chronic fatigue I had felt over a period of time – not in any way for performance enhancement.

“I immediately self-reported this fact to the PGA TOUR – consistent with my values and with the long tradition of self-reporting all rules violations on or off the golf course.

“I regret my inadvertent mistake in not doing my homework to know for sure what was on the list of permitted and non-permitted substances. I take responsibility and accept the penalty imposed by the PGA Tour.”

Stallings started serving his suspension on Tuesday and will be eligible to return to compete on October 7th, which means he will not miss any of the 2015-16 season.

Interesting enough, Stallings took a drug test at the Humana Challenge while he was still taking DHEA, yet he did not fail or yield a positive result, according to GolfChannel.com. Which raises questions about the effectiveness of the Tour’s drug-testing and anti-doping policies (but that’s nothing new — it’s been a much-discussed issue for quite some time). I mean, if Stallings was using a banned substance, shouldn’t the drug test have picked it up? OK, maybe not because perhaps he wasn’t taking enough to have super-elevated testosterone levels. I understand “rules are rules,” but this just seems silly.

Stallings is the third player to be suspended since the Tour’s anti-doping program commenced in 2008. Doug Barron was the first ever to be slapped with a suspension (one year) in 2009 after producing a positive drug test for supplemental testosterone and a beta-blocker, both of which were prescribed by a doctor for medical issues.

Then, of course, there was the whole Vijay Singh-deer-antler-spray fiasco in 2013. Singh was originally suspended for using the spray, which contains IGF-1 and is considered a banned substance. However, the decision was overturned after the World Anti-Doping Agency changed its policy on the use of IGF-1.

Earlier this year, Bhavik Patel, a Web.com Tour player, was suspended for a year for taking an undisclosed substance.

In related news, this tweet puts things in perspective in a way…or at least it made me laugh.