Notes PGA Tour Steroid Policy Lefty Sets Masters Menu
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.
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.
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.
'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.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.
Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan
Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.
Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.
Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:
“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”
Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.
“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”
Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.
“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.
“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”
Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.
“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.
“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.
Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:
Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017