With the recent drug scandal involving Dustin Johnson and his sudden “leave of absence” questions will arise asking for stricter punishments for golfers involved with all forms of drugs.
This is Johnson’s third offence. His first coming in 2009 for Marijuana and in 2012 for Cocaine. Johnson was suspended for his second offence but the punishment was not brought to the public’s attention. His recent absence from the game was his own choice as he need to time to rehabilitate and repair himself both physically and emotionally.
But should their be stricter regulations for drug use in golf? Johnson’s case is different to most due to the drugs being for recreational use rather than performance enhancing drugs such as beta-blockers. The punishments may vary due to this difference.
The issue has gone from being a minor issue to a major talking point among PGA officials as more players are winning tournaments whilst using performance enhancing drugs.
There have been many cases in which players have used beta-blockers not for the sport but for their own health. But these substances are restricted and should be punished if they are not necessary to the health of the player.
Last years case involving Vijay Singh is a prime example of players trying to find alternatives to the likes of steroids or EPO. The former world number 1 bought a spray up to $9,000 which acts as a relaxant and has been a restricted substance for a while on the tour.
Now where should the line be drawn. Should punishments be the same for first offences and multiple offences? Should punishments be the same for both Recreational and Performance Enhancing Drugs? And should players get “special treatment” if they become addicted to the drugs?