Brad Fritsch banned for three months by PGA Tour
Fritsch reported himself after discovering a banned substance in a dietary spray
On November 30, Brad Fritsch received a text message that made his heart sink.
It was from one of his brothers, asking about a specific part of Fritsch’s weight loss program.
In early November, not long after his 40th birthday, the Canadian decided to make some drastic health changes.
Weighing in at 242lbs (110kg) – “pretty much the heaviest I’d ever been,” Fritsch recalls – he got in touch with his friend Alex, a chiropractor who offers a successful weight loss program.
Alex’s adverts promised you could “lose a pound of fat per day” and Fritsch was finally sold after his wife lost 25 pounds on the same plan.
As a professional golfer, currently ranked 831 in the world but having achieved a career high of 234, he would have the best part of two months off during golf’s off-season.
Over the course of his pro career, Fritsch has so far earned just under $800k.
“I would lose the weight and simultaneously adapt my golf swing throughout the program with my instructor,” Fritsch said in a lengthy Facebook post.
The weight loss program, he told his brother, included just two low calorie meals a day, consisting of a small amount of protein and his choice of vegetables, drinking 120 oz of water, a liquid multivitamin and a spray called BioSom.
Then came the text: “Hey, it’s not that spray that got Vijay in trouble, right?”
READ: The female golf caddy that conquered Augusta
Deer antler spray
In 2013, Fijian golfer Vijay Singh said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he used “deer antler spray,” a supplement used in the sports and fitness industry to build strength and endurance or recover quickly from injury.
Singh was eventually cleared of doping by the PGA Tour after the World Anti-Doping Agency said the spray did not contain a sufficient amount of growth hormone to break the rules.
Fritsch describes himself as “a huge advocate” in expanding the Tour’s anti-doping program, both in meetings and private conversations.
“I’ve been adamant that we should publicize every offender, no matter the offense,” he says.
However, now that it was his turn, could he just lie about it?
“I couldn’t,” Fritsch said. “It’s not who I am. I believe in the program and if I’m to be suspended, then so be it. It is my own fault that I’m in this position.
“I’m just so upset with myself that I didn’t think to question what was in the supplements. But I never did. And in the program rules, it stipulates that a self-report is the same as a positive test.”
Fritsch sent a text to Andy Levinson, PGA Tour Senior Vice President, to tell him he was concerned about the contents of the spray he had used.
He tested positive and so was suspended by the PGA Tour for three months, retroactive to November 30, the day he messaged Levinson.
READ: At last, glory for Garcia – golf in 2017
“Mr. Fritsch self-reported this information after discovering that an ingredient in a supplement that he was taking was on the prohibited list,” the Tour said in an official statement.
“He has acknowledged his inadvertent error and accepted his suspension.”
Fritsch now says he is in a “good place,” has lost 28 pounds and is thankful he never played a competitive round of golf while using the spray.
“I just wish I had paid attention to the details. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t pay attention to the details,” Fritsch said.
“To all those who believe in me, who cheer for me, who respect me - I hope those three things don’t change.”