Brad Fritsch, PGA Tour veteran, has been handed a three-month suspension for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy. The 40-year-old Canadian self-reported taking a weight-loss supplement that contained a banned ingredient.
Fritsch alerted the Tour to his violation in November, so his three-month ban is backdated to the 30th of that month. He’ll be eligible to return to competition February 28.
Interestingly, Fritsch didn’t play a competitive round while taking the banned substance, DHEA. He wrote candidly about his mistake in a Facebook post January 8th.
He discussed the program his friend Alex, a chiropractor and weight-loss specialist, put him on ahead of the new PGA Tour season.
“The majority of Alex’s program is low calorie, highly disciplined eating. You eat two meals per day (I did noon and 6pm), consisting of a small protein and whatever vegetables you want. Yes, I almost died in the first two weeks. If it sounds awful, that’s because it was. I tried to drink 120oz of water per day, and then took the supplements that every other program participant takes – a liquid multivitamin, even more vitamin D, a “body detox” solution, a probiotic, and a spray called BioSom.
‘“Hey, it’s not that spray that got Vijay in trouble, right?”’
“That was a text from November 30, from one of my brothers. I was telling him and my other brother what I was doing with the weight loss program. It felt like my heart sank into my stomach. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t checked all of the supplements against our Anti-Doping list. I immediately sent a text to Andy Levinson, head of the Tour’s Anti-Doping program.”
Unfortunately, we already know how this story ends. Fritsch continues
“That last supplement ended up containing a substance called DHEA, and it is indeed banned on our Anti-Doping list…I’m just so upset with myself that I didn’t think to question what was in the supplements. But I never did. And in the program rules, it stipulates that a self-report is the same as a positive test. I did know this when I sent the text to Andy Levinson – like I said above, I believe in the program. I’m a proud member of the PGA Tour and I don’t take that lightly. If there is any silver lining, it’s that I thankfully never played a competitive round during all of this…I just wish I had paid attention to the details. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t pay attention to the details.”
It’s standard fare for golf writers and talking heads to wax poetic about the virtue of golfers calling penalties on themselves and self reporting, but this is a glowing example. More than likely, no one would ever have known Fritsch took a banned substance that he didn’t even play golf while taking, yet he didn’t hesitate to investigate himself (too late, as it turns out unfortunately) and report.
Fortunately, Fritsch was able to find a silver lining in the present dark cloud.
“I don’t feel great about this situation, but I’ve had over a month to kind of process my feelings about it. I’m in a good place (and I’ve lost 28 pounds, so I’ve got that going for me). I’m not sure I’d feel exactly the same way if I had competed against my peers while using a banned substance, even if it was out of ignorance.”
Including Fritsch, five golfers have been suspended under the Tour’s 2008 anti-doping policy. Most recently, Mark Hensby earned a year-long suspension for failing to submit a sample.
You can read Fritsch’s full, thoughtful post below, which includes some strong takes about the Tour’s anti-doping policy.
It has been announced that I have been suspended by the PGA Tour for three months, retroactive to November 30, the day I…
Posted by Brad Fritsch on Monday, January 8, 2018