Anti-Doping Policy Announced
Drug testing could begin as early as next spring, although details such as when to test and any penalties are still being worked out.
'But for the problems in other sports, I doubt we would be at this point,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said in a conference call with the leaders of six major golf organizations. 'We are where we are given the way of the world. And I think it's a positive day for golf because we are together (and) we are spending a lot of energy to do it right.'
It was a universal effort from the PGA TOUR, European Tour, LPGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association, Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Augusta National Golf Club and the PGA of America, meaning the policy ultimately would cover golf at the highest level all over the world, including the four major championships.
Drug testing at the Masters likely would not start next year. Augusta National executive director Jim Armstrong said the Masters would watch what the other tours do before deciding how to proceed. Likewise, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said the British Open would be treated like any other week on the European Tour.
Finchem said the other major golf tours, such as South Africa and Japan, have signed off on the list of banned substances and have agreed to go along with the second phase of the policy, which will include medical waivers, testing, punishment and making sure that any player caught cheating on one tour would face penalties on all of them.
The LPGA Tour was the first to announce a drug policy in professional golf, which begins next year.
In amateur golf, the R&A and USGA did a sample test at the World Amateur Team Championship in South Africa late last year, and all 12 golfers came back clean.
'The R&A has no reason to believe that golf is anything other than a clean sport,' Dawson said. 'But we've been supportive of a coordinated international effort in golf to test for drugs so that we can demonstrate that our sport is clean and we can keep it that way.'
The policy will be coordinated by the World Golf Foundation, comprised of leaders from major golf organizations.
Officials released a list of 10 classes of drugs that will be banned, which range from anabolic steroids to hormones to narcotics to beta blockers. PGA TOUR spokesman Ty Votaw said HGH was on the banned list. He said the entire list of banned drugs would not be released until the tour showed it to the players.
Two substances from the World Anti-Doping Association list, which is used in the Olympics and other sports, was left off golf's banned list because Finchem said it would cause an undue administrative burden and golf executives do not believe those substances -- Glucocorticosteroids and Beta-2-Agonists -- will enhance a golfer's performance.
Finchem has resisted drug testing since the question was first posed at the start of the decade, saying there was no evidence of performance-enhancing drugs for golf or anyone using them. Even if that were the case, he suggested that golf could get by on its centuries-old honor code of players calling penalties on themselves.
But as doping began to surface in baseball and cycling and several other sports, golf came under increasing pressure to develop a policy.
And it made headlines in golf at the British Open this summer when nine-time major champion Gary Player said he knew for a fact that some golfers were using steroids and that one had confessed to him. Player didn't identify the player, saying he had promised not to tell.
'Certainly, the problems in other sports have created a growing perception among fans that athletes ... utilize substances that in other sports are banned,' Finchem said. He also mentioned that the European and LPGA tours hold tournaments in countries where drug testing is required by the government, such as France.
'All of those things argue for moving forward,' he said.
Finchem said proposals for testing and punishment would be reviewed by the PGA TOUR policy board at the Nov. 12 meeting. The next step is to make sure its players know what's on the banned list, how to seek a medical waiver and what the punishment would be if a test came back positive.
He said there would be up to eight meetings over the first three months of 2008, along with a 24-hour consultation line for players, agents and fitness trainers.
'We are not going to just have a player meeting and 30 players come and call it a day,' he said. 'We will be out sitting down with players aggressively, and we will have a lot of people involved in that process. We're just not going to leaving anything to chance.'
Each tour would be responsible for administering its own policy.
Finchem estimated the cost to the PGA TOUR at about $1.5 million a year, but only as it relates to testing.
'No sport has gotten into testing without litigation arising in some fashion or form, and that's a whole other level of cost,' he said. 'But we're not worrying about that right now.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field
Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.
Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.
Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.
After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth.
Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.
Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.
“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”
After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).
Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129.
The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.
Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.
Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.
Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.
Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.
Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.
Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back
All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.
“I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.
“I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”
Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.
“This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.
Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.