Notes PGA Tour Steroid Policy Lefty Sets Masters Menu

By Associated PressFebruary 15, 2005, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Major League Baseball players began facing sanctions last year if they tested positive for illegal steroids. The NFL bans steroids and randomly tests its players. NBA rookies are tested up to four times a year, while veterans are subject to one random test during training camp.
 
The PGA Tour has no policy on steroids.
 
Nothing is in the works, because no one has found anything that would help a golfer's performance.
 
In fact, the only substance abuse policy on the PGA Tour books is a two-page statement from former commissioner Deane Beman in January 1992 that deals with recreational drugs, and alcohol as it relates to players' conduct.
 
'There is a lot of power involved in golf, but more so feel and touch,' U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen said. 'I don't know if somebody took steroids how that would affect the game. I don't think golf is that much a power sport as it is in other sports, like athletics or things like that, where there is such a small margin between the athletes.'
 
The only thing golf has tested lately is hot drivers, and that lasted about a month.
 
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he is comfortable with the tour's 13-year-old policy that makes no mention of performance-enhancing drugs. Not only has there been no evidence that steroids are an issue in golf, he said there has been nothing to indicate that the tour should waste time or money looking for such a drug.
 
'Some say we ought to test for drugs because all sports test and you want to know you're clean,' Finchem said. 'In a vacuum, I see how you can make that argument. But honestly ... I don't know what we'd be testing for.'
 
And even if anyone discovered a steroid that would allow someone to hit the ball farther or make more putts, random testing would not be the first step.
 
Golf is built around honor, and that would apply to steroids.
 
Finchem said if research found there were performance-enhancing drugs for golf, the board would conduct research and decide whether to ban them. Even then, it would be up to the players not to use them.
 
'People talk about testing, but that's not the question. That might be a subsequent question,' Finchem said. 'The way you run golf is to pass a rule, and then you expect everyone to adhere to the rule. If we had reason to believe there was a violation, then we could resort to testing.'
 
OLD MEN IN GREEN JACKET
As further proof that the best part of winning the Masters is the lifetime exemption, consider the comments of the last two champions.
 
'The biggest thing is I get to go back to Augusta and be part of that tournament, be part of the history, every year,' Phil Mickelson said. 'It probably won't hit me until I'm 60 years old, and I look back and reminisce at the champions dinner to talk about that victory.'
 
Mike Weir also has thought what it would be like to be gray, balding and wearing a green jacket.
 
When he was host of the champions dinner last year, he sat next to Byron Nelson and heard tales of Lord Byron playing Augusta National in the 1930s and '40s.
 
'The whole time, I couldn't help but think how cool would that be, that I could be that 'with it' at 92 years old and be able to tell stories to the guys in the next generation coming up,' Weir said.
 
GOYDOS VIEW
Paul Goydos is known by his peers as 'Sunshine,' a sarcastic reference to what appears to be his dour outlook on golf. But it's all a matter of perception.
 
While others see a defeatist attitude, Goydos says it's simply a case of setting the bar high.
 
'My expectations are very high, so when I do something that I think is below my level of skill, I consider that to be a poor thing,' he said. 'Is that negative? I disagree. I think it's ultimately the most positive attitude you can have, somebody who is reaching for the stars.'
 
In that light, his attitude is refreshing.
 
Goydos is not the most skilled player on the PGA Tour. He was a substitute teacher when he won a Nike Tour event in 1992, eventually paving his way to the PGA Tour. He has never finished higher than 44th on the money list, but one gets the idea it hasn't been from a lack of effort.
 
He clearly has higher aspirations.
 
ON THE MENU
Phil Mickelson has settled on his menu for the Champions Dinner at the Masters - lobster ravioli in a tomato cream sauce, Caesar's salad and garlic bread on the side.
 
'It's very basic, and I've got an Italian background,' Mickelson said.
 
The defending champion picks the menu - and pays the tab.
 
THE ROAD TO TURNBERRY
A project to widen the roads headed to Turnberry might be the first step toward getting the links back on the British Open rotation in 2009.
 
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club has made several trips to Turnberry in the last few months, and already is considering new tees and changes to some bunkers to strengthen the Ailsa course for an Open. But it all starts with how to handle traffic on the single road that leads there.
 
'Our understanding is work is scheduled to begin on the road in late spring,' R&A secretary Peter Dawson recently told The Scotman. 'If that is the case, then we can look on Turnberry favorably.'
 
It would be the first time the British Open returns to Turnberry since Nick Price in 1994.
 
DIVOTS
The Senior British Open will be played this summer at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club. ... The LPGA Tour has hired recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles to help find a successor to commissioner Ty Votaw, who is retiring at the end of the year. ... Darren Clarke played Pebble Beach for the first time since the 2000 U.S. Open, and it didn't take him long to detect the difference. 'The fairways are three times as wide,' he said. ... Ernie Els came out to Fancourt on Sunday and presented the trophy to Japan in Women's World Cup. ... The U.S. Open qualifier will be held in Japan on Memorial Day (May 30) and in England on D-Day (June 6). 'That was not by design,' USGA executive director David Fay said with a laugh.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Vijay Singh had three rounds over par at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the first time he has done that since the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
 
FINAL WORD
'I don't know if my game got better or everybody got worse.' - Andrew Magee, who has three top 20s in four events after missing all of last year with an Achilles' injury.
Getty Images

Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.


Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters


Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


Getty Images

Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6PM ET


Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.


Notables in the field:

Tiger Woods

• Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

• Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

• Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.


Rickie Fowler

• The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

• Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

• On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 


Rory McIlroy

• It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

• McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

• Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

Getty Images

Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''


Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.