Tiger is Not Using Performance Enhancing Drugs… I Think

The evidence points to Tiger not being a user of PEDs, but as a fan are we only looking at the evidence we want to?

Thrash TalkWhile sitting in the grill room of my golf club during the final round of the WGC in Doral, the conversation sparked up again.

It has not been discussed near as much as in the past, but on occasion – especially when Tiger withdraws or plays poorly because of an injury – people start whispering about it.

This time the gentlemen said that in his opinion ever since the PGA Tour put their drug-testing policy in place Tiger has been injured more frequently than in the past. His insinuation was that Tiger was in the past taking performance enhancing drugs and now that the testing policy was in place he was beginning to show wear as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did in the later part of their careers.

Here at TST we have discussed this topic at length numerous times and the consensus is that Tiger has not taken anything to enhance his performance. The rumors of Tiger taking drugs like steroids or other PEDs started very early in his career. I can remember discussing it when he first turned pro. He was a very skinny kid in college while winning those three U.S. amateurs. Once a professional he was much bigger and many folks questioned how he got that big.

During hydrant-gate it came out in reports that he was taking Ambien and other drugs. At the time, the story was so big and there was so much to cover that the drug angle was mostly ignored. Then the conspiracy theorists were out in full force when one of the doctors Tiger used for a blood transfusion was caught up in the sale of performance enhancing drugs. Tiger was not implicated in the drug portion, but the story gave the media and the haters plenty to talk about.

After listening for a bit of this grill room conversation, I decided to jump in. I said that the evidence that Tiger has never taken PEDs is much stronger than those saying he did. For starters, Tiger is simply not all that big. Barry Bonds in his heyday would make Tiger look like a midget. A friend quickly countered that Tiger is still pretty ripped, which is true, but I argued that he’s no more ripped than most athletes who work out regularly.

My second point was that Tiger’s injuries are very consistent. What I meant was that he seems to injure the same things. Typically his knee and more recently his back and neck. He does not have little injuries that pop up seemingly out of nowhere that don’t correlate to each other. Lastly I said that I am unable to see how being buff like a body builder is going to help him play golf. Sure it will help out of the rough, but fitness and endurance muscle training will better serve Tiger than becoming a muscle man winner.

One point that we both agreed was that if the PGA Tour was to test Tiger and find that he had used PEDs they would be in one heck of a pickle. If they suspend the best player and biggest draw to the Tour they will put all of his records which are basically a big part of the PGA Tour history in question.

Tiger Woods

In the Bay Area, where I live and play, this topic holds a bit of extra weight because of Barry Bonds. Many people who live here are Giant fans and they enjoyed the ride that Barry Bonds took them on. Many Giant fans defended Barry until the very bitter end saying that he was not taking PEDs. Fans would get accused of being, well, fans. There were letting the fact that they were being fans cloud their judgment about what Barry was doing. I am not a Giant fan and I watched it happen more times than I can count. There is something about being a fan that causes you to believe when the evidence is cloudy. Barry was never officially caught so until the very end many fans here kept on believing. For the longest time much of the evidence against Barry was circumstantial so it was easy for fans to debate with those who felt he was using.

So when this gentleman brought this to my attention it did cause me to pause for a moment. Was the fact that I had become a Tiger fan recently causing me to dismiss evidence that I should be considering? I still say no, the evidence that Tiger is not using is still much too strong to say that he is using any sort of PEDs. Tiger has become such a polarizing figure in the game of golf now. I find that fans of golf love him or hate him. Rarely are golf fans neutral on him. This makes it hard to debate this topic because depending how you feel about Tiger can likely determine how you feel about whether or not he has used PEDs.

Photo credits: © Streeter Lecka.

11 thoughts on “Tiger is Not Using Performance Enhancing Drugs… I Think”

  1. I agree that there is not evidence of PEDs, and I hope that Tiger hasn’t used them. I think there is more of a correlation between when he stopped receiving the blood treatments from Dr. Galea and his current rash of injuries. I’m no doctor, but I imagine what Tiger probably needs is to give his body a long time off to recuperate- something that does not jive with goals of winning more majors.

  2. Any time someone does well at something, there will be someone who doubts this person did it without “cheating”.

    One of the reasons that comes to mind is that the critic has some preconceived notion of what a person who would do well in the activity should look like. If the person in question does not fit neatly into that mold, he is accused of cheating because there is no other way he could have done it.

    I think as more types of people start competing in the same sports, there will be less and less of this generalization that only hurts the sport in question.

  3. Everyone knows Tiger is a workout freak. If he worked out as hard as he does and took PEDs he would look huge. The fact of the matter is that he’s really not that big.

  4. I don’t see PEDs as a useful device for golf from the standpoint of getting much more muscular. Tigers physique is a product of being naturally lean and being committed to his program. Where I think the PEDs have more use is in the rehabilitating effects on connective tissue and muscular injuries. I’m not saying he uses, only that I would see the recovery from his multiple injuries as the main reason he would use. I don’t even think Tigers bulk helps him as much as it hinders him at this point. I think it also puts an additional strain on his already injured body.

  5. Professional athletes never do PEDs or designer drugs to enhance their ability to perform, earn more money, psycholocally gain an edge, heal faster, train harder …….they never do.

    Until they get caught…..that is fact. the article above, even if it was about Woods or Kelly Slater for that matter is written expressing an opinion glossing over injuries, behavior and associations and the very time frame that other professional well paid athletes….got caught. We’ll may never know but in this age of sports, money, greed and state of the art science to create drugs that can not be detected. Can we be that 100% positive that he didn’t? Lance Armstrong got bagged from a blood test sample that was taken 6-7 years earlier, retested, ironically they never found anything, except a material is only found in intravenous bags. This breach was the genesis for a full scope investigation of an otherwise American hero. My feeling or opinion is that it would not come as a surprise for ANY athlete to be dirty or has had some help. There are some that are highly suspected. But to think anyone is immune from PEDS in this day age is down right being nieve and potentially uninformed.

  6. Tiger Woods was associated with Dr. Galea, a doctor who was investigated, charged and convicted in US District Court for dispensing PEDs, so it is only natural that some fans are going to make the connection between Tiger Woods and PEDs.

    According to ESPN, Galea’s lawyer told the District Court Judge that Galea’s treatments which included the injection of a cocktail mixture containing Nutropin (HGH) and Actovegin, a highly metabolic performance enhancing drug that was also used by Lance Armstrong.

    Galea’s attorneys have argued that he was miscast as someone who dealt in performance-enhancing drugs.

    “Everybody in the sports world has always defined performance enhancement as bigger, faster, stronger,” said Brian Greenspan, Galea’s Toronto-based attorney. “There is nothing about this that is bigger, faster, stronger.

    Not sure I can buy what Galea’s lawyer is selling while knowing his clients were baseball players like Carlos Beltran, football players like Jamal Lewis, and Olympic athletes like sprinters, hurdlers and even figure skaters and swimmers, all of whom win and get paid for going bigger, stronger and faster.

    If Tiger did not wish to be associated with PEDs – even if only via the rumor mill – then perhaps he should not have associated with a doctor who regularly, and illegally, prescribed them to performance based athletes.

  7. Not all PED’s make a person Big. And if Tiger works out as hard as said that might be a good reason for him to use them. Decrease recovery time. Also PED’s can be very helpful in golf. It can help a person gain a little more clubhead speed or maintain it. Some can also help with stamina and focus.

  8. I have reached a point in my life…where I no longer care…if any athlete is using PED’s. Stop all the drug testing and let it happen. Makes absolutely no difference to me and my enjoyment of watching sports.
    I also DO NOT want the congress of the US poking it’s nose into PED’s/pro sports. That was the most ridiculous use of a government agency I can remember…

  9. As a professional in the field of exercise and sport science, the majority of research has shown that PED’s do so little in the way of actually enhancing ones performance it is nearly negatable. As someone said above, it can help a lot in recovering from a muscular injury, but that person still has to put in all of the work in the weight room in order to build. I say, let anyone take what they want, in the end it will destroy their body if not done correctly anyway.

  10. people are naive. His associations in the past are a clear tell. His inability to be honest is clearly documented by his relationship with his wife. HGH is used for recovery, faster growth and injuries. Do people think that a chronically dishonest alpha male obsessed with his performance would not use HGH and or testosterone on ethical grounds? Getting caught is not even an issue, he is the money man and also he can use masking agents easily and effectively. The continued use of PEDS leads to breakdowns in muscle and connective tissues when you go off cycle or as the athlete ages. It is artificial growth afterall. It is a Faustian bargain. Think about it. How many times were you lied to by A.Rod,Bonds,Clemens,McQuire,Sosa, Beltran,Flo-Jo,Johnson,Armstrong and countless others? Please, wake up and welcome yourselves to modern reality.

  11. Golf in many ways has lagged behind other sports in regards to taking the training room to the playing field – but is catching up. The training room is notorious for quick fixes to assist when “staleness syndrome” (performance ceases to progress) sets in – and that’s where the temptation to use chemical enhancements is born. As far as Tiger, my belief is he has fallen victim to inadequate recovery from the stress of intensive training and what we are seeing is the result. Regarding PED’s, if he is/was using them they sure haven’t helped a whole lot, all things considered.

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