Olympic drug testing to begin in May 2016

By Doug FergusonFebruary 5, 2015, 4:25 am

SAN DIEGO - The more stringent process of Olympic drug testing will start May 6, 2016, for players who might be eligible for the U.S. team.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said any player who would be eligible on May 6 will have to make themselves available for testing at any time. That process was developed by the International Golf Federation and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

A country can have as many as four players at the 2016 games - the first time golf is in the Olympics since 1904 - provided they are within the top 15 in the world ranking. Otherwise, countries can have no more than two players.

Each week depending on the ranking, the pool of players can change depending on their world ranking. The testing will go on through the competition.

"That list could change, and it could change between the time the pool is set and when the actual field is set," Finchem said Wednesday.

He also said drug testing would remain on the PGA Tour even if golf is no longer part of the Olympics after 2020. The International Olympic Committee votes in 2017 to determine whether golf becomes a permanent fixture.

"We didn't go to drug testing simply because of the Olympics," Finchem said. "And we didn't go to drug testing because we felt we had a PED problem. We went to drug testing because the perception across the board in sports is that athletes dope. We even had questions raised about our sport. We felt that the image of our sport and our athletes is the No. 1 asset by a big margin. And in our defense we want to be able to demonstrate that our players don't PED use."

Two players, Doug Barron and Bhavik Patel on the Web.com Tour, have tested positive in the anti-doping program that began in 2008.

CADDIE LAWSUIT: Finchem says players are in charge of the financial arrangement for their caddies, and he hopes that system continues.

A group of caddies has filed a federal lawsuit against the Tour in San Francisco, claiming the Tour is making money off them by making them wear bibs with the title sponsor's logo. The lawsuit contends the Tour is getting $50 million from exposure for the bibs, and the caddies receive none of that.

Finchem said he hasn't seen the complaint, and he wouldn't comment directly on the lawsuit. Instead, he suggested it was up to the player to look after his caddie.

"A player is an individual, an independent contractor. He doesn't have an HR [human resources] department, he makes an arrangement with somebody that's going to carry the bag and work with him," Finchem said. "The historical process is the player handles that and they are employees of the player. We think that's been a good system. The extent to which this lawsuit challenges that system, for whatever reasons they have in the lawsuit from a legal standpoint, it is what it is, but we would like to continue that system and let it go on."

Finchem said tournaments have tried to increase accommodations for the caddies over the last 15 years, such as parking and catering. He also said arrangements are "all over the map" because some caddies have been with the same player for years, and others are only out for a few weeks.

"The extent to which the Tour does better financially for the players, that impacts the ability of the player to do better for the caddie financially," he said.

RYDER CUP: The Ryder Cup Task Force held another meeting this week, without any details on how it is moving along. Phil Mickelson said the idea is not to find the right captain for 2016 at Hazeltine, but to develop a plan so that the Americans have more continuity for Ryder Cups down the road.

He still had some thoughts on the next captain.

"You've got to have somebody that's strong enough, confident enough in who they are, to withstand the scrutiny that's going to come their way, thanks to somebody," he said. He paused briefly before adding, "That was supposed to be a joke."

Mickelson was the key figure in the losing news conference at Gleneagles for his veiled criticism of U.S. captain Tom Watson. He didn't directly criticize Watson, rather praised all the qualities of 2008 captain Paul Azinger and noted that Watson didn't involve the players.

And after all that? He said Fred Couples would be a captain to meet those requirements.

"There's a couple of other guys that fit that mold, too," Mickelson said.

ROAD MAP: Brooks Koepka secured his PGA Tour card last year, mainly on the strength two big weeks at the Frys.com Open and U.S. Open. And his victory in Turkey on the European Tour moved him deep into the top 50 in the world. He is No. 19 after his first PGA Tour win last week in Phoenix.

The best part of all that - he can finally set a schedule well in advance.

"It's been the first time I actually know what I'm doing going forward," said Koepka, whose career path has taken him from the Challenge Tour to the European Tour to the PGA Tour. "The last two years I really haven't had much notice more than two, three weeks out on where I'm going. So to have a plan, it's nice. I can sit back and relax a little bit more and know where I'm going playing, do a little research on the golf courses, things like that."

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm