Australian golfer Mark Hensby says he is not a drug cheat, despite a one-year suspension for breaking the United States PGA Tour’s drug code.
Hensby acknowledged in an interview with Golf Digest today that he had failed to provide a sample for drug-testers after being required to do so at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October.
Instead, he said, he left the course in frustration after an opening-round 78, a decision that has proven costly to say the least. Failing to provide a sample is judged as severely as a positive test under the WADA drug code.
Hensby said he had used the bathroom while playing his 17th hole on the day, and believed that he would take hours to provide a sample when asked. He added that another person – he did not say who – told him at the time that he could not be made to remain at the course.
“I didn’t know the ramifications in the moment because I was so mad at everything that had transpired," Hensby said.
The Australian, who has spent more than a decade in America, was told by a tour official later that night that he faced a ban. “I had no concern (about the test) whatsoever.’’
He said it was fear for his career that led him to leave the course. “Don’t get me wrong, a year is a long time, but they have rules," he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do from here, I'm shocked. It’s been a tough month.”
Hensby, who hails from Tamworth, played most of 2017 on the Web.com Tour.