PGA TOUR star Robert Garrigus has become the latest golfer to fall foul of the new rules over drug use after being hit with a three-month ban for a positive test.
The PGA TOUR tightened up governance of drug taking in the sport when announcing increased testing at all events and tougher sanctions for those being caught out by testers.
And the latest to be caught out by them has been American journeyman Garrigus, who tested positive for marujiana and was banned from the tour for three months as a result.
The PGA TOUR announced in a statement: “The PGA TOUR announced today that Robert Garrigus has violated the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program by testing positive for a substance identified as a drug of abuse.
“In accordance with the PGA TOUR Conduct Policy that applies to violations involving drugs of abuse, he has been suspended for a period of three months.”
Garrigus is a regular on the PGA TOUR, but it is nine years since he last won a tournament when lifting the 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Lake Buena Vista. He was also third in the US Open in 2011, his best result in a major, and has collected $14.7 million in career prize money.
In his own statement, 41-year-old Garrigus expressed his regret for the positive test and vowed to use the three-month ban to become a better person. The American revealed a past addiction for drink and drugs in 2003 after which he spent 45 days in rehab and said he had had a relapse.
“After a long period of sobriety, I had a relapse and subsequently failed a drug test for marijuana,” Garrigus said in his statement. “A drug that although legal in many states, is not permitted under the PGA Tour’s anti-doping rules.
“I mention that it is legal in many states not as an excuse, but as a word of warning to many people who use or try marijuana. Legal doesn’t mean it isn’t addictive and legal doesn’t mean there aren’t potentially severe consequences if you use it.
“I will use this time away from golf to be with my family and work on regaining my sobriety. As I have said over the years, I am grateful for and inspired by those who have shared how my story has helped them gain a clean lifestyle. I hope this new chapter of life will now show people to never relax in their battle with addiction.”
Garrigus reached a career high 35th in the world in 2012 but he has slipped to 450th in the rankings. He has not played since missing the cut in the Puerto Rico Open in February. In his seven events this season, Garrigus has missed the cut five times with a T64 in the Genesis Open his best result.
Garrigus will miss a number of big tournaments during his ban, will slip further down the Official World Golf Rankings and also drifts further out of contention for the FedEx Cup series points. To make the latter, he will likely need to return in career-best form when his three-month ban ends.