Matt Every Suspended for Prescription – Wrongly

Prescribed Marijuana Knocks Every Off Tour

I tend to take a fairly conservative view of how things are done around the game of golf, despite whatever I might think of life off the course. When it comes to the game that shaped a lot of my youth, I am generally a little more old-school than some of my contemporaries. I was in college during the late 60s and early 70s, and am not naive about the drug scene boom of those times. No one I ever knew 50 years ago got a prescription for what they were taking, but those days have changed. We have sorted out the health benefits from the side effects and myths of various substances instead of lumping them into the “spoiled hippy” category that seemed so convenient for every occasion. That should have helped Matt Every.

Not so. Every is feeling the residual rigidity of my generation this week. Born in 1983, he’s been playing on the PGA Tour for some time now, and has won some events, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational. By all accounts, he’s a good all-around citizen, a club throw or two aside.  The drugs that are standard for the condition that causes his variety of pain don’t work well for him. In fact, some of them are counterproductive. Every honed down the helpful treatments to marijuana under the care of a physician, so now it is part of his legal treatment. He can purchase the drug the same way a cancer patient might purchase his. But the last holdouts of the infamous “War on Drugs” are still holding down the fort. The tour’s policy says “no can do” to marijuana, so out you go, for three months to be exact.

In 2010, Every was arrested on a misdemeanor for marijuana possession, due to a strong odor coming from his room. In some areas, police officers may be as unfamiliar with legally prescribed marijuana as tour administrators are, but with the intractability at play, Every can’t keep his health and his profession, not until someone else steps in to break the log jam. At the heart of the question for me is, “Can the tour declare a thing to be illegal that is declared legal by the jurisdiction in which its use occurs?” Does civic legality trump tour legality? It sounds like some old fossils (trust me on this, I am one) are clinging to old mythologies about the old drug culture and spoiled college kids. They don’t realize that the War on Drugs was lost on the first day. Do they test the guy who throws down a shot of whiskey before the round? How about the on-course smoker?

As for Matt Every, he accepts the penalty, but with no apologies. He is correct to refuse one of those. The University of Florida alum, four time all-American, and recipient of the Ben Hogan Award is not a spoiled college kid. He is a member in good standing working in  a professional industry. Perhaps the tour is making a performance point. Does marijuana (not taken on the golf course) calm one’s nerves too much? I can’t imagine a person who abuses the drug being able to swing a club at all, so he must have the dosage pretty well calibrated. That’s not the hallmark of a true druggie. How often will he be tested, and will this suspension be repeated two or three times per year?

Drug policy, no matter who sets it, is erratic across the board. In Smith v. Oregon, Native Americans were not allowed to ingest a small amount of peyote in a religious service, despite having no illegal trade, and the tendency to make a user sick. At the same time, churches all over the nation served wine in the presence of minors – just saying. The tour is guilty of McDonald’s syndrome. If there’s not a button for it on my order pad, I can’t do a thing about it.
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I am for a policy that says if you’re prescription is legal, and doesn’t cause you to run amok on prime time television, your treatment procedure is none of the tour’s business – unless they can prove that marijuana takes strokes off your score. I’m not holding my breath on that one.

 

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