Top golfers take CBD for calmness, while the Saracens locks George Kruis and Dominic Day were so taken with it they launched their own business
The first time I saw Charley Hoffman play, you would not have looked at him twice. That was at the Masters in 2015, where he stopped by the 1st tee box to beg autographs off Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. He was 38 already, a little tubby, a little schlubby, in a hat that looked two sizes too big and a pair of wraparound sunglasses so tight they gave him tan lines. Then he went and shot a 67. Well, like the old salts say at Augusta, the bars of Chicago are full of people who led majors after one round and Charley finished up tied ninth. But still, after 15 years playing pro golf, it was his first top-20 finish in a major.
Hoffman has seemed to make a run up the leaderboard at almost every other major since, 65 at Augusta National, 67 at Royal Birkdale, 68 at Erin Hills. Usually he slips right back down it again but whatever he is going through he always seems to be wearing the same inscrutable expression. You never saw a sportsman give less away about how he is feeling. Which might be why even my friends who love golf dont get why I have grown quite so fond of him in the past four years. I think it is because, for a man with such an exquisite iron game, he just seems so ordinary. You would never guess he was an elite athlete, until you saw him play.
This is why it was a surprise that Hoffman has just been signed up to promote a new line of CBD products. If there was ever a sign cannabis is going mainstream in sport, its Charley, a 42-year-old journeyman pro from San Diego. He is one of a bunch of professional golfers who have signed endorsement deals with CBD manufacturers since the World Anti-Doping Agency took it off the prohibited list in 2018. Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover are promoting it, too. All three of them have spoken about how it helps their physical recovery. Interestingly, Glover has said it helps him cope with his anxiety, too. For golfers, Glover says, the biggest benefit is calmness.
CBD use is booming in Britain, too. The Saracens locks George Kruis and Dominic Day were so taken with it they have launched their own business, fourfivecbd. It was Day who first discovered it, when he was struggling to recover from an operation to remove torn cartilage from his right knee. I was in that head space where I was willing to try anything that could help, he says, and I stumbled across the article online about how Wada had just taken CBD oil off the banned list, and I thought: Shall I give this a go? He ended up buying a bottle of it from a vape shop.