Viet Nam News
by Robert Bicknell
It doesn’t happen very often, but a golf professional got nailed by a drug test and the Tour found he was taking a performance enhancing drug. Now, there is a huge caveat because many professional golfers actually have medical exemptions for some of these substances. This is one of those areas when being older is actually better because we have excuses that other sports do not.
For example, most top golf pros are hitting their peak performance in their 30’s and 40’s, whereas most other sportsmen (football, baseball, basketball) have already retired with millions of dollars in the bank and have to rely on doing something stupid to end up in the news again.
So, hearing golf pros taking TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) is not earth shattering. For the record, a male’s testosterone levels start to drop when he is around 20 years of age keeps dropping. When someone is on a TRT programme, it’s not the same as a bodybuilder. For example, treatment might be something like 1-2 ml every month, whereas a bodybuilder is taking 100ml every three days. It’s a big difference.
What the TRT does is give the person a better feeling about themselves and actually helps to alleviate depression. What a bodybuilder does is massively overdo it to the point their you-know-what falls off. OK, it doesn’t fall off, but it might as well.
Steroids and other similar drugs all under the category of “performance enhancing substances” and give athletes a huge edge over people who compete cleanly and this is why they are banned by all professional sports.
There are other drugs out there, such as HGH (Human Growth Hormone) which can do the same as Steroids, but it’s just as dangerous, if not more so. HGH will grow everything (no, not bones and not what every man wishes it would grow), but it does help you put on muscle and lose weight faster. The problem is, as mentioned, it grows everything, and so if you have a very small cancerous tumor, it will help grow that too. There are some things which just shouldn’t be played with.
Furthermore, steroids and HGH aren’t really beneficial to golf professionals. We don’t need huge muscles and, if anything, that can be a bigger headache than a benefit. Remember when Tiger Woods got on a huge weightlifting kick, he had to change his swing.
Five years ago, I was hitting the gym like a maniac and got quite pumped up. I found that it screwed up my golf swing because I couldn’t get my biceps past my chest as before. I had to flatten out my swing and that wasn’t a good thing. So I cut back on the training a lot and, instead of size, I trained for strength and speed.
If there is any drug which would actually benefit a Tour professional, it would be “beta blockers” because it slows down your heart rate. When standing over a 4-foot putt to win the Masters, you heart would be pounding like a jackhammer. Beta Blockers would eliminate that.
The problem, as you might have guessed, is that it is ridiculously dangerous to play around with any drug that can affect your heartbeat. It is far too easy to accidentally kill yourself with beta blockers, so any professional golfer doesn’t bother with them.
However, used under medical supervision, they do have beneficial effects, especially if you have anxiety attacks and, apparently, this was the case of the particular golf pro. The problem is he forgot to register his doctor’s exemption with the Tour and got nailed. Live and learn.
One chemical which isn’t illegal, but should be avoided before a round of golf is caffeine. Yup, that Starbucks fix you had before the round will definitely affect your putting and that isn’t a good thing. I would mention nicotine, but everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you, but continue to smoke anyway, so it’s really not worth mentioning except to say that if you can quit, you’d be better off.
Yes, I know it’s hypocritical for me to say that as I’m a smoker, but good advice is good advice no matter where it comes from.
Well, off to the gym I go because, at my age, I need to find a way to turn back time…— VNS