Infotainment Factory: Golfer reveals life-changing rat poison accident

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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Golfer reveals life-changing rat poison accident


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A European tour pro has revealed the amazing story of how accidentally drinking rat poison as a child more than 20 years ago led to him being suspended for using beta blockers.

In a blog for the European Tour, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout has described how he almost died when he drank the poison from what he thought was a bottle of Coke.

“I was two and half years old and I was playing outside when I picked up a random Coke bottle,” wrote Bezuidenhout.

“I took a drink of it thinking it was Coke, however it actually contained rat poison. It was a moment which would change my life forever.

Christian Bezuidenhout

“As a result of that moment of naivety I almost died. The hospital had to pump my whole stomach to get rid of all the poison, but the poison affected the whole nervous system in my body, and one of the long term effects of this led to me having a stutter. 

Bezuidenhout revealed how the stutter would eventually lead to him developing a severe case of anxiety, to the point he was afraid to answer the phone or being asked a question.

A psychologist prescribed Bezuidenhout beta blockers at the age of 14, to reduce his blood pressure and help the anxiety. After using the beta blockers for seven years during his amateur golf career, a drugs test in 2014 brought his world crashing down.

“I was playing in the British Amateur at Royal Portrush in 2014 when after my first round I handed my scorecard in and was told that I’d been nominated for a drugs test,” he wrote.

“I went for it and at that time I was using beta blockers for my stutter. I wrote the medication down on the form prior to the drugs test, making no secret of the fact I was using this medication.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

“Two months later I was back home practising for the Eisenhower Trophy where I would be representing South Africa when one afternoon my Dad phoned me to tell me I needed to come home immediately. I drove straight from practice and he broke the news to me that I had been suspended. I just broke down.”

“It was awful. I had spent my whole amateur career working to get into that Eisenhower side to represent my nation, it was a huge goal of mine to be selected in the team.

“To be told two days before the event that I couldn’t go because of a two year drugs ban was simply too much for me to take in.

“It felt like my life was over.

Describing the period as “the darkest period of my life,” Bezuidenhout appealed the suspension, which was reduced from two years to nine months after confirmation he wasn’t using the drugs for performance enhancing reasons.

Returning on a mini-tour in South Africa, Bezuidenhout won his first event by seven shots. He turned pro, finishing second in the South African Open and eventually graduating to the European Tour.

The 24-year-old still has a way to go to qualify for the majors. But as fate would have it, this year’s British Open is being held at Royal Portrush, site of Bezuidenhout’s failed drugs test in 2014.

“I’ve made mistakes but every tournament that passes I learn more and the next goal for me is to win on the European Tour,” he said.

“I would love to be heading to Portrush this summer.”

A European tour pro has revealed the amazing story of how accidentally drinking rat poison as a child more than 20 years ago led to him being suspended for using beta blockers.

In a blog for the European Tour, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout has described how he almost died when he drank the poison from what he thought was a bottle of Coke.

“I was two and half years old and I was playing outside when I picked up a random Coke bottle,” wrote Bezuidenhout.

“I took a drink of it thinking it was Coke, however it actually contained rat poison. It was a moment which would change my life forever.

Christian Bezuidenhout

“As a result of that moment of naivety I almost died. The hospital had to pump my whole stomach to get rid of all the poison, but the poison affected the whole nervous system in my body, and one of the long term effects of this led to me having a stutter. 

Bezuidenhout revealed how the stutter would eventually lead to him developing a severe case of anxiety, to the point he was afraid to answer the phone or being asked a question.

A psychologist prescribed Bezuidenhout beta blockers at the age of 14, to reduce his blood pressure and help the anxiety. After using the beta blockers for seven years during his amateur golf career, a drugs test in 2014 brought his world crashing down.

“I was playing in the British Amateur at Royal Portrush in 2014 when after my first round I handed my scorecard in and was told that I’d been nominated for a drugs test,” he wrote.

“I went for it and at that time I was using beta blockers for my stutter. I wrote the medication down on the form prior to the drugs test, making no secret of the fact I was using this medication.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

“Two months later I was back home practising for the Eisenhower Trophy where I would be representing South Africa when one afternoon my Dad phoned me to tell me I needed to come home immediately. I drove straight from practice and he broke the news to me that I had been suspended. I just broke down.”

“It was awful. I had spent my whole amateur career working to get into that Eisenhower side to represent my nation, it was a huge goal of mine to be selected in the team.

“To be told two days before the event that I couldn’t go because of a two year drugs ban was simply too much for me to take in.

“It felt like my life was over.

Describing the period as “the darkest period of my life,” Bezuidenhout appealed the suspension, which was reduced from two years to nine months after confirmation he wasn’t using the drugs for performance enhancing reasons.

Returning on a mini-tour in South Africa, Bezuidenhout won his first event by seven shots. He turned pro, finishing second in the South African Open and eventually graduating to the European Tour.

The 24-year-old still has a way to go to qualify for the majors. But as fate would have it, this year’s British Open is being held at Royal Portrush, site of Bezuidenhout’s failed drugs test in 2014.

“I’ve made mistakes but every tournament that passes I learn more and the next goal for me is to win on the European Tour,” he said.

“I would love to be heading to Portrush this summer.”

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