Mark Hensby on PGA Tour after his drug ban: "They just don't care"

Hensby finishes serving his 12-month PGA Tour suspension for failing to complete urine test at 2017 Sanderson Farms.

Mark Hensby on PGA Tour after his drug ban: "They just don't care"
Mark Hensby on PGA Tour after his drug ban: "They just don't care"

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Mark Hensby - the golfer suspended by the PGA Tour for 12 months after being "unable to complete a urine test" at last year's Sanderson Farms Championship - has claimed he feels he's no longer welcome on Tour. 

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The 47-year-old Australian won the 2004 John Deer Classic and played for the Internationals at the 2005 Presidents Cup. He also finished tied fifth at The Masters and tied third at the US Open in 2005. 

Hensby was summoned for a random drugs test after an opening round of 78, but he told officials he needed more time and that he would provide a urine sample the next morning.

"Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater," Hensby said at the time of the incident.

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"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours.

"I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby: "Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater"

As a result of failing to comply with PGA Tour regulations, Hensby was given a 12-month suspension from the PGA Tour, which has now expired.

But Hensby is not sure where he will play or whether he’s even welcome.

“It was a learning year in terms of dealing with what transpired,” Hensby told Golfweek. “But it’s a lost year in that I probably could have gotten into eight or nine PGA Tour events.”

Hensby still feels he was harshly treated by the PGA Tour, particularly when Brad Fritsch served a three-month in January for admitting to inadvertently taking a banned substance.

“A guy gets three months for saying he was taking something and I get a year for not doing the test at the time they wanted me to do it,” he said. “Nine extra months for that is a little bit harsh.”

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Rules are not being applied equally by the PGA Tour, according to Hensby.

“Obviously there’s so many rumours about other players, and it makes me angry,” he said.

“But it also makes me sad because there’s no one standing up for the players. We have guys on the board who are ‘Yes’ men, go along guys. They’re not supporting the players.”

Hensby has continued to work on his game, however, rather than taking up a new job, and last month finished tied 26th at the New Mexico Open in his first competitive start since his DQ. He will then head home to compete in the New South Wales Open, before hopefully earning an exemption in the Australian Open. 

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Yet his biggest challenge comes as early as this week at Tour Qualifying in California, where he will bid to lock up his playing rights for 2019.

“These kids are pretty damned good,” said Hensby. “Do I feel like I can get through? Yes, or I wouldn’t be going. But I’m going to have to play well. It’s probably going to be a little harder for me since I haven’t played much.”

Hensby asked the PGA Tour if he could play in the Sanderson Farms last week - the scene of his controversial incident 12 months previous - but he was refused entry with four days still left to serve of his ban.

"A guy of my age, they don’t care and I understand that," he added.

"I’m not going to draw people to a tournament. But I did play on a Presidents Cup team and at one time they felt like they needed someone like me to play tournaments.

"Once they know there’s no need for you any more, they throw you away. That’s kind of what it feels like to me."

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