Celizic: Tiger linked to HGH? He can’t catch a break

Woods was treated by Canadian doc who possessed HGH

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Now that Woods ruined his squeaky-clean image, that kind of rumor can stick.

    Has anyone seen Tiger Woods’ birth certificate? From what I hear, rumors are flying it’s possible Woods wasn’t born in this country.

    I’m not saying this is true, but it’s what I heard and somebody ought to look into it. And if he can’t come up with his original birth certificate — no Xerox copies — Tiger should be shipped out of the country and back to Malaysia. That’s where his mother is from. And somebody should look into the legality of his making a billion dollars without even a green card.

    And someone may want to check to see if Tiger’s been using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) or any other illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

    The first rumor is far-fetched. The second may not be.

    The New York Times is reporting that Woods was treated by a Canadian doctor who was arrested in October for trying to cross the border with human growth hormone and a drug made from calves’ blood in his possession. The calves’ blood drug is banned in the United States, though not by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

    The doctor, Anthony Galea, is a sports medicine specialist who has treated hundreds of American athletes and is known for his ability to promote rapid healing in his patients. After his Canadian arrest, Galea has become the subject of an FBI investigation.

    There is no evidence that Woods received any illegal treatment from Galea, but why should that stop us? A month ago we would have laughed at the suggestion. But that was back when Woods was still perfect in every way, just as his handlers and his marketing campaigns said he was.

    Then there was that terrible drive in the Escalade down his private street into an unplayable lie. Within days, we learned that he had gone to bed with every blonde in the Western Hemisphere.

    It was something of a jolt for his fans, not to mention his corporate sponsors, to discover that Woods has the sex drive of a rabbit and a commitment to monogamy similar to Terrell Owens’ commitment to humility. For some reason, they had allowed themselves to fall for Woods’ clever plot to present himself as the world’s first perfect human being. It had never for anyone else, but Woods went with it anyway. For more than a decade, it worked.

    But the billionaire athlete's world unraveled like a $2 sweater. And once it was discovered that the world’s greatest golfer would cheat on his wife, it’s only natural to assume that he’d cheat on anything.

    So it is that Galea comes along at the absolute perfect time for Woods’ growing army of detractors and the worst time for his shrinking platoon of defenders.

    The Times e-mailed Woods’ business agent, IMG’s Mark Steinberg, about Galea’s arrest and asked if it suggested that Woods had gotten HGH or any other illegal drug from the doctor.

    “I would really ask that you guys don’t write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and won’t be, let’s please give the kid a break,” Steinberg e-mailed back, according to The Times.

    Silly Steinberg. Here he is, a professional sports agent, and he’s asking a major media outlet to give a star who’s under fire a break? If stories about Steinberg and Woods’ legal and management teams are to be believed, they’ve spent a good deal of time over the years convincing media outlets not to run with wild rumors about Tiger. The Daily Beast reports that in 2007, Woods’ lawyers talked the Enquirer out of running grainy photos that purported to show Woods and an unidentified babe in his Escalade.

     

    That worked when Woods’ image was as clean as an operating room. Now that all bets are off. The Times ran its story. Steinberg can only cringe and wait for the next sponsorship deal to drop.

    It’s almost impossible to know if Woods used HGH or simply availed themselves of a plasma therapy that he has helped pioneer. The therapy, in which platelets are separated from an athlete’s blood then injected directly into the site of an injury, may promote healing, and scores of athletes from every sport flock to Galea for the treatments. In Woods’ case, the doctor traveled to Woods’ Florida estate to treat him.

    No professional sport tests for HGH, a banned drug. League commissioners may act on strong evidence, but if Major League Baseball couldn’t pin HGH usage on Barry Bonds, no sport can pin it on anybody.

    That makes it even tougher for a man like Woods to deny. If usage can’t be proved, neither can non-usage. It’s another variation of the impossible question: “Do you still beat your wife?”

    Or, in Woods’ case, “Do you still cheat on your wife?”

    He’ll never be able to answer that on to everyone’s satisfaction. So we may as well ask if he got HGH from Galea. And while we’re at it, would he mind digging up that birth certificate?