On Monday, Mark Hensby became just the fourth player in PGA Tour history to be publicly suspended for violating the tour's Anti-Doping Policy, with the 46-year-old Australian receiving a year-long ban. Hensby released a statement on Tuesday, and spoke with Golf Digest's Brian Wacker, in response to the failed test. And his defense is somewhat curious.
According to Hensby, following a first-round 78 at the Sanderson Farms Championship in October, he was approached by a tour official for a drug test. Hensby claimed that, because he had used the bathroom on his 17th hole, he'd be unable to provide a sample for hours. Receiving word from someone standing by that he wasn't required to stay, Hensby left the course.
“I didn’t know the ramifications in the moment because I was so mad at everything that had transpired," Hensby told Golf Digest.
Hensby was informed later that night that, for failing to provide a urine sample, he was disqualified from the event. He also realized that would be far from his only punishment.
“I knew I was going to be banned, but didn’t know to what extent," Hensby said.
A week after he left the tournament, Hensby says he got a letter from the tour, asking why he refused to provide a sample. According to Hensby, there was nothing in his system he was trying to hide.
“I had no concern whatsoever," Hensby said, regarding the notion that he feared he would fail the test.
Hensby informed the tour he left the grounds because he was frustrated with his game, believing he might be done with golf due to struggles the past few seasons. In 2017, played in just one other PGA Tour event, missing the cut at the Barbasol Championship. In 14 Web.com Tour starts, he made just five cuts and was 142nd on the money list. “I thought I didn’t have a career anymore," he said.
Unfortunately for Hensby, the tour didn't buy his explanation, and was informed of the forthcoming suspension.
Hensby waited for his ruling to go public for about a month, and admittedly is somewhat shocked at how much attention it's received. He also doesn't blame the tour for its verdict.
“Don’t get me wrong, a year is a long time, but they have rules," he said.
Hensby, winner of the 2004 John Deere Classic, is unsure what he'll do next. He's toying with preparing for the PGA Tour Champions, but is still coming to grips with his present fate.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do from here, I'm shocked," Hensby said. "It’s been a tough month.”