PGA Tour journeyman Mark Hensby is looking forward to returning to the PGA Tour after his suspension for PED use. However, he truly believes the crime hardly fit the punishment.
“In the last three years, I’ve made $22,000″ Hensby said. “If I’m taking a performance-enhancing drug then obviously it’s not performance-enhancing.”
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch interviews the man who also intimates some star players are given a free pass with drug testing.
He opened with a dismal 78, and on the 18th hole told his caddie that his playing career was about done. That frustration boiled over when he was summoned for a drug test after signing his card.
The incensed pro says he had urinated on his 17th hole and knew he faced a long wait to produce a sample. When a Tour official admitted he had no authority to keep him at the course, Hensby left. That evening he ignored a call and a text from the Tour’s senior vice president Andy Levinson telling him he needed to return.
“I wasn’t going back. They can do it in the morning. I didn’t see the big issue,” Hensby recalls. “That was my big mistake.”
He was DQ from the tournament. Several weeks later, Hensby received an email telling him he was benched for a year. Hensby was stunned. He wrote to Tour commissioner Jay Monahan pleading his case, to no avail.
Hensby gives the impression of a man quick to laugh but also sensitive to perceived slights or unfairness. In early January, the PGA Tour announced that Brad Fritsch had inadvertently taken a prohibited substance as part of a weight-loss program, a violation Fritsch had self-reported. His suspension: three months. Hensby called Monahan.
“I just wanted to be treated as fair as everyone else. I think 12 months is too much, and my reaching out to him is to try and get my ban shortened. I think six months is plenty,” he said. His call has not been returned.
“Maybe they did make an example of me. PGA Tour players talk. We all know what goes on. I believe there are guys who are higher-profile players that have probably tested positive and it’s gone by the wayside. Unless you have proof of that …” His voice trails off and he shrugs his shoulders. “The Tour’s always going to say that’s not true.”
There is something curious about the entire drug testing procedure. Outside of Vijay Singh’s Deer Antler controversy, not one star has received an “official” suspension. If you believe that every stud pro is accomplishing great feats without an “additive” so be it. I tend to think there’s always a few who fudge the truth due to the constant pressure to perform and keep those bank account commas continuing.