Tiger Woods became embroiled in fresh controversy yesterday when it was revealed a doctor who has treated the world No 1 is suspected of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs.
An American newspaper reported that Dr Anthony Galea, a Canadian, was found with human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf blood, in his bag at the US-Canada border in late September. He was arrested in Toronto in October for smuggling, advertising and selling unapproved drugs as well as criminal conspiracy.
According to The New York Times, medical records found on Dr Galea's computer relating to several professional athletes prompted the FBI to open an investigation. Dr Galea claimed "it would be impossible" for investigators to have discovered material linking his athletes to performance-enhancing drugs. He has also treated the sprinter Donovan Bailey and many NFL football players.
Actovegin is illegal in the US and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency if used intravenously. While the drug is meant to promote healing, it is also thought to improve stamina and came to the attention of the drug-busters several years ago in cycling.
While there is no suggestion Woods has taken any banned drugs, it is reported that Dr Galea did visit his home in Florida on several occasions at the start of this year. The Woods camp was apparently concerned with the golfer's slow recovery from knee surgery the previous year. Dr Galea's controversial technique involves taking blood from the patient and increasing the concentration of red platelets before reinjecting into the injured ligament. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is legal under the WADA code.