Player Poisons Open Atmosphere

By Brian HewittJuly 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
Gary Player poured vinegar Wednesday into the distinctive golfing brew that annually quenches the thirst of the golf world at the Open Championship, the games longest-running competition.
 
And it left a bad, bad taste.
 
At Carnoustie, on the eve of the 136th British Open, Player sat in front of the worlds sporting press and cast a pall over the proceedings by alleging the use of performance-enhancing drugs at golfs highest levels.
 
If, one day, Players charges turn out to be true, we will applaud his candor and record his bravery in this games history books. For now, we must condemn him for, if nothing else, tarring every top player with the same brush.
 
Player, you see, did not name names.
 
Everybody now, thanks to Player, is a suspect.
 
I know there are golfers doing it, said the 71-year-old Player when asked about drug use in golf. Whether its HGH (human growth hormone), whether its creatine, whether its steroids, I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it.
 
Player won nine major championships, including three British Opens, in a brilliant career. He said the greatest thing the R&A, the USGA and the PGA TOUR could do would be to have drug tests at random.
 
Its absolutely essential that we do that, Player said. Were dreaming if we think its not going to come into golf. I would say on the world tour today, I would say theres 10 guys taking something. I might be way out. Definitely not going to be lower. But might be a hell of a lot more.
 
Player wasnt finished.
 
One guy told me, I wont tell you who, and I could see the massive change in him.
 
Finally Player fired a parting and wholly unfair shot at the medical profession with a blanket statement. He said he had been offered HGH. Asked from whom, he answered, From every doctor I go to.
 
All right, lets review the bidding here: If Gary Player is to be believed, every Tour pro, from Tiger Woods to Boo Weekley, is now under suspicion. And every doctor, from Quackenbush to Spock is a potential malpracticer.
 
Yo, Gary: The tabloids are going to feast on your aspersions for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
 
Meanwhile R&A secretary Peter Dawson was worlds more responsible when asked how golf organizations were addressing drug testing in a sport where it virtually doesnt exist on the mens side. These discussions, Im pleased to say, are at a pretty advanced stage, Dawson said. What I do support is getting on with this in a measured but quick fashion.
 
Dawson was telling us, among other things, that if drug use exists in golf, random testing will put an end to it. He was also saying that if drug use doesnt exist in golf random testing will erase any doubts.
 
Player said he doesnt have any doubts.
 
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the No. 1 and 2 players in the world respectively, disagreed with Players conclusions when asked, one day earlier, about drug use in golf.
 
I dont think theres even a remote chance that that will happen, Mickelson said when asked if he thought random testing of top golfers would produce any positive results.
 
I really dont see anybody doing anything (drugs), Woods said. Or havent heard of anybody doing anything.
 
Neither Woods nor Mickelson was choosing their words in a way that made you want to parse their language. Player, on the other hand, was the loose cannoneer who triggered an explosion thats now ringing in golfs ears.
 
Consider the source: Player has always been enchanted with the sound of his own voice. I once stood next to him near the first tee at Augusta National and listened to him tell a group of reporters that players would one day regularly be driving the first green, more than 400 yards away.
 
We should not be so nave as to think there isnt fire somewhere near the billows of smoke Player sent up Wednesday. The growth of weight-training as a conditioning aid among golfers has advanced in quantum leaps in the last decade. There are very specific performance-enhancing drugs that allow athletes, golfers included, to recover faster from a Monday workout in order to lift weights again on Tuesday.
 
Meanwhile Player should have known better. Now there will be fans, media and other players who will wonder about players who wouldnt dream of using drugs.
 
Shame on Gary Player. He has been a terrific ambassador for golf for a long time. But this time the man they call the Black Knight has created a black cloud. And it is indefensibly irresponsible.
 
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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.