Can the news get any worse for Tiger Woods?
The New York Times has reported that a Canadian doctor that has treated Woods, swimmer Dana Torres, and NFL players is suspected of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
Dr. Anthony Galea was found with human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf's blood, in his bag at the U.S./Canada border in late September. He was arrested on Oct. 15 in Toronto by Canadian police.
By now everyone and their 90-year-old grandma is aware of Woods' "extracurricular" antics over the years, which came to light on Nov. 27. His personal life has been completely trashed and beaten to a pulp. Women are looking at him the same way PETA looks at Mike Vick.
He has lost some sponsors, but not the top dogs like Nike and Gatorade. So, while the short-term effects of the infidelity mess are brutal, it doesn't look to be a problem over the long-term (at least that's what Nike CEO Phil Knight believes).
The long-term issue that athletes in any sport can't shed in this millennium is getting linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Countless baseball players' legacies have forever been tainted. The lasting image of players like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire is that of needles and lies. Same with cyclist Floyd Landis and track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery, among other Olympians.
We became accustomed to being skeptical of every outstanding performance in almost every sport—but not golf.
Never had there even been a whisper of Woods taking PEDs. He has steamrolled the best players in the world for over 13 years now, and has never caught a whiff of suspicion from either the fans or the PGA.
Dr. Galea said Woods was referred to him by the golfer’s agents, who were trying to speed up the pace of his rehabilitation after knee surgery in June 2008. The doctor said he flew to Orlando, Fla. at least four times to give Woods platelet therapy at his home.
While the PED reports are still mere allegations, their effects have already exacted damage. Golf becomes the latest major sport tainted by accusations of PED use, and fans lose confidence in the integrity of their favorite golfers.
Woods is taking an "indefinite leave" from golf, and speculation on his return is all over the board. Most believe that he wanted to let the affair saga blow over; the best way to do that requires one to vanish and let the notoriously short collective American memory forget past transgressions.
But the speculations about Tiger's PED use will not go away once he returns to the links. The questions he will be answering will turn from his off-the-course shenanigans to whether his on-course performance has been artificially enhanced.
This is getting ugly for Woods and the PGA. Buckle up, folks—the "Tiger Zoo" reached a boiling point in November with his alleged affairs coming to light, and the PED news could cause this volcano to erupt.