Matt Every officially made his return to the PGA Tour on Thursday, his first appearance since he was hit with a three-month suspension for violating the Tour’s drugs of abuse policy after testing positive for marijuana.
While his outing didn’t go great — Every withdrew from the Sony Open in Hawaii on Friday due to a back injury following an opening-round 73 — he was thrilled to simply be back out on the course again.
“Am I glad to be playing golf again? I am,” Every said after his round Thursday night, via Golf Digest. “I missed being out here. It’s what I do.”
Every was suspended in October after he tested positive for marijuana, which is listed as a “drug of abuse” under the Tour’s current anti-doping policy. Every was prescribed the marijuana by his doctor for a mental health condition, however, and said after his suspension that “cannabis has proven to be, by far, the safest and most effective treatment” for him.
He was the second player last year to be suspended for marijuana use, joining Robert Garrigus — who has since advocated loudly for the Tour to change its stance on the drug.
Though he said the “down time wasn’t all bad,” Every admitted that he didn’t feel like practicing much during his suspension. It was tough to see the point, since he couldn’t actually go play, and he actually went about two months without touching a club.
The 36-year-old two-time Tour winner’s opening round wasn’t perfect. He started the day at Wai’alae Country Club with four bogeys in his first eight holes, though closed with a pair of birdies to keep him in the mix.
Even though his week in Hawaii came to an early end, Every is just ready to get to playing again this season — and to move past his suspension.
“I think I held it together pretty well,” Every said Thursday, via Golf Digest. “I guess I could have worked a bit harder when I was away, but a part of me is like, ‘What’s the point? I couldn’t play anyway.’
“So at least I’m fresh. I’m just ready to move on.”
Monahan stands by Tour’s drug policy
Marijuana is currently legal in some form in 46 states in the United States, and legal recreationally in 11 states and Washington D.C. More and more athletes — both in the golf world and elsewhere — have been speaking up about its use and benefits in recent years, too.
Yet PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan stood by that policy this week. While he is open to change down the road, they are sticking to international guidelines for now.
“We’re very comfortable with the policy, and as it relates to changes that might come down the road as it relates to how marijuana is treated, we’re going to continue to follow [the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines] and … we don’t plan to make any exceptions off our existing policy,” Monahan said, via Golf Digest.
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