Doping Policy Cage Match: ESPN’s Bob Harig vs. SI’s Michael Bamberger

ESPN’s Bob Harig says:

If a player is fined for dropping an F-bomb, there is no disclosure. Slow play? Same thing. A failed drug test? You got it.

The only exception: if a player failed a performance-enhancing drug test, which has happened exactly once in the six-year-plus history of the tour’s drug-testing program.

SI’s Michael Bamberger says:

Really, it’s all up to Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner. According to Tour’s 46-page drug-policy booklet, if a player is suspended for violating the rule for performance-enhancing drugs, the Tour is obligated to announce the suspension.

But nothing in the policy requires the commissioner to suspend a player over such a violation. For any number of reasons — including, one could argue, his desire to use some choice corporate-speak to protect the brand — the commissioner could decide to keep any failed test for PEDs in a locked drawer in Ponte Vedra. If there is no suspension, there is no announcement.

So who is correct?  Bamberger.

Here’s section Section 2-M of the PGA Tour’s Anti-doping Program Manual (both the 2009 version and 2013 version):


The PGA TOUR will not publicly disclose the identity of a player whose sample has resulted in an Adverse Analytical Finding or who has been alleged to have committed an anti-doping rule violation until after the process described in sections H and I has been completed.  In each case where a period of Ineligibility has been imposed or tournament results have been Disqualified, the PGA TOUR will, at a minimum, publish the name of the player, the fact that the player committed an anti-doping rule violation, and the sanction imposed. As an exception, the PGA TOUR may decide not to publish information on cases involving Drugs of Abuse.

Harig, head cheerleader of the Tiger Woods pep squad, wants you to think only one guy has ever tested positive for PEDs — and it wasn’t Tiger Woods!  Bamberger correctly points out that a positive PED test is only announced in the case of a suspension, and that Finchem can choose to suspend or not suspend whomever the hell he pleases.

Which makes this Dustin Johnson non-suspension suspension all the more interesting.  DJ’s problem was cocaine, not PEDs, at least according to leaked information, but isn’t it interesting that the PGA Tour said they would not comment, then commented to clarify that they did not suspend DJ.

So what was that all about?  If he were suspended for cocaine, they would not be obligated to report it.  However, if what he were suspended for were PEDs, they would be obligated to report it — if he were suspended.  By saying he was not suspended — even if an agreement were reached that he would self-suspend — the door is open that it was not cocaine, or not exclusively cocaine, but that PEDs may also have been involved.

Tim Finchem continues to show he’s the most incompetent commissioner in sports history.

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3 Responses to Doping Policy Cage Match: ESPN’s Bob Harig vs. SI’s Michael Bamberger

  1. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable! How is this even possible? What is wrong with this tour? No other organization even tolerates this, not the MLB, NBA, or NHL. Three failures and no consequences until now?! This proves once and for all how corrupt the PGA Tour is and proves without a doubt that they have been covering for Woods and who knows how many others all these years. They have soiled the once honorable reputation the PGA Tour once had. Nothing more than a slave to the almighty dollar. What a shame. Like a very wise man once said, “What was done in the dark, will be brought to the light.” I hope one day it all does and they will be exposed for the frauds they are.

    • ANON says:

      Johnson announced Thursday that he was taking a leave of absence from professional golf for personal reasons, and according to a report from Michael Bamberger and Michael Walker of, he has been suspended by the PGA Tour for six months after failing a drug test with cocaine in his system.

  2. Pingback: BAM!! Berger!! | Lanny H Golf

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