Notes Drug Testing Grabs Players Attention

By Associated PressJanuary 23, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Buick InvitationalSAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Kenny Perry is starting his 20th year on the PGA TOUR and has seen just about everything. He has won nine times, played on four Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams and lost a playoff in a major in his home state.
 
Tuesday might have been the first time he really got nervous.
 
Perry and the rest of the players at the Buick Invitational spent part of their day in a mandatory meeting with PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem and administrators of the TOUR's new anti-doping policy. Testing begins July 8.
 
'It scared me a little bit, not knowing what's in some of that stuff,' Perry said.
 
The TOUR has made drug experts available at every tournament starting with the Sony Open to educate players on the drug testing procedure and penalties, and everyone was sent a 40-page manual that includes seven pages of what is prohibited.
 
The message some players took from the meeting was to be careful with supplements.
 
Finchem has resisted an anti-doping policy for the last seven years, but golf finally agreed to a program as it became prevalent in other sports, with baseball getting most of the attention the past couple of years.
 
'But for the problems in other sports, I doubt we would be at this point,' Finchem said last fall when the plan was announced.
 
Tiger Woods, who said two years ago the TOUR should begin testing immediately, was in the morning session, but left without comment. Finchem also was not available to speak until Wednesday.
 
'Tim doesn't think someone is going to test positive for a performance-enhancing drug,' Kevin Sutherland said. 'I think he's more concerned about someone testing positive because he made a mistake. They really stressed supplements, knowing what's in them.'
 
That's what got Perry's attention.
 
He said all he's ever taken are vitamins, and he'll give those a closer look. He also talked about a diet program he tried last year.
 
'I was taking protein shakes and a lot of vitamin B supplements,' he said. 'I've got to see what's in that stuff.'
 
Sutherland and Perry said the tour's new cut policy that caused such a stink at the Sony Open never came up in the morning meeting, with the attention squarely on drug testing.
 
'He said it's something we have to do to comply with other sports,' Perry said. 'It's a shame the tour has got to spend $1.5 million for something I don't think we really need.'
 
CUT HISTORY:
Paul Azinger was among the most vocal players against the PGA TTOUR's new cut policy, and after running through his list of complaints about how 18 players who made the cut couldn't play in Honolulu, he said of the tour hierarchy, 'What is it that makes these guys so afraid of tradition?'
 
He figured the cut has always been top 70 and ties, regardless of how many players make the cut.
 
And he was right -- with one asterisk.
 
When the PGA TOUR was formed in 1969, regulations stated that the field will be reduced to top 70 players and ties after 36 holes. That policy remained virtually unchanged until this year.
 
One exception came in 1973 when amateurs were removed from the equation, so the regulation was changed to say that the top 70 'professionals' and ties made the cut. That played a significant role in 1999 when Tiger Woods was in a tie for 71st at Bay Hill, but made the cut because amateur Matt Kuchar easily made the cut. That allowed Woods to be among the top 70 pros, and he went on to set the tour's consecutive cut record.
 
As for the asterisk?
 
The TOUR only paid the low 70 and ties after the tournament, meaning a dozen or so players could make the cut and not be paid. How would that have gone down at the Sony Open?
 
That policy was changed in 1979 so that prize money was paid to everyone making the cut.
 
DIVOTS:
The Buick Invitational has 11 of the top 30 players from the world rankings. The Qatar Masters on the European Tour has 10 of the top 30, including Scott Verplank. ... Ben Curtis kept busy in the offseason without playing too much golf. His wife, Candace, gave birth Dec. 11 to a daughter they named Addison Marie. It was their second child.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
In his 11 season-opening tournaments, Tiger Woods has won five times and never finished out of the top 10.
 
FINAL WORD:
'I love it when your only weakness is you haven't won a major from behind. I'm feeling bad for him. I've never won a major from behind, either.' -- Paul Goydos on Tiger Woods.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.