Press Pass Completing the Slam Testing for Drugs

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass. You can also give your take on our questions. Just click on the link and e-mail your responses to all four questions to us. We'll publish select answers each Friday in our Press Pass: Readers' Forum.
 
Hot Topic
Annika Sorenstam has said that she wants to win the seasonal Grand Slam. Do you see her or any other current LPGA Tour player ' including Michelle Wie ' ever being able to accomplish that feat?
 
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Michelle Wie needs to win a golf tournament, any golf tournament, before she begins thinking about a calendar Grand Slam. I honestly think Lorena Ochoa may have a better chance to win the Grand Slam this year even though I realize she hasn't yet won her first major. Annika's probably got a two- or three-year window for the seasonal Grand Slam.
 
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Anchor, GOLF CHANNEL:
In a short answer to Annika ' no. I think she could, but I dont think she will. Her odds were better a few years ago when the likes of Creamer, Ochoa and other young guns werent around. Could Wie do it? Yes. And I think shell give it a good run before her career is done.
 
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
It is unlikely that anyone would be able to win the seasonal Grand Slam, but if someone were going to accomplish this I think it would be Lorena Ochoa.
 
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
If Wie reaches her potential -- and keeps her primary focus on women's golf -- I think she could dominate like Annika did in the early part of this decade. That would be the only way I could ever see any current female sweep the majors in the near future. I think the tour is too deep right now and there just isn't one player who is far and away better than everyone else.
 
Hot Topic
The Mission Hills course, which hosts this weeks Kraft Nabisco, ends with the par-5 18th. Do you like par-5 finishing holes in tournaments?
 
Hewitt:
I have no problem with par-5 finishers, especially if they are shortish with a lot of risk-reward. The 13th at Augusta would be a fabulous finishing hole. Also, I don't mind a par-3 final hole. Imagine someone making an ace on the 72nd hole to win a major.
 
Kann:
Not really. A par-5 finish gives such an advantage to the longer hitter. It forces his or her counterpart to be precise with a wedge to make birdie that way and hope against a potential eagle. Actually, to make things more even, Ill take a par-3 finish. Imagine Bay Hills 17th as a finishing hole. Now that provides fair drama.
 
Rolfing:
I like any type of finishing hole where there can be more than a one stroke swing, regardless of whether it is a par 4 or 5. For example the 18th at Bay Hill or the 18th at TPC Sawgrass (par 4s) both can produce 2 or 3 shot swings as can the 18th at Pebble Beach which is a par 5.
 
Baggs:
I like a par-5 finish, on two conditions: 1) it is reachable for at least an above average hitter. 2) there is some kind of risk-reward. To make a par-5 finishing hole 650 yards is pointless, but if it gives at least half of the field a chance to go for it in two then it creates excitement. Also, if you're going to give players a chance to make eagle, you must also put in play bogey or worse. Make it accessible, but make it penal if the player makes a mistake. Just don't make it a par-3, like at East Lake.
 
Hot Topic
Should the PGA TOUR follow the LPGAs lead and implement a drug-testing policy?
 
Hewitt:
I do not think it's important for the PGA TOUR to have a list of banned substances. Much more important to monitor balls and implements (not necessarily restrict, but monitor) in our sport than to police a problem that doesn't exist.
 
Kann:
No. Im so tired of drugs being a part of any conversation in sport. Golf is supposed to be pure. If Skip Kendall starts averaging 310 off the tee, then well revisit it.
 
Rolfing:
Performance enhancing drugs have no place on either the LPGA or the PGA Tour however just as in the rules of golf where the players police themselves I think theyre capable of policing themselves regarding performance enhancing drugs. Therefore, I say no to drug testing but yes to a list of banned substances.
 
Baggs:
Certainly. It's easy to say that there is no problem and thus there is no need to test for a problem that doesn't exist. How do we know that there isn't a problem? Steroids and HGH might not be prevalent in golf, but I can see how they would be beneficial to a player. Look at how many pitchers have been caught using illegal drugs in baseball. They, like golfers, don't want to be overly muscular, but they do want to increase strength and recovery time in relation to fatigue and injury. Most likely, there is no problem. But we can't be 100 percent certain unless a testing policy is in place.
 
Hot Topic
With the Masters on the horizon: If you were a player, would you be in favor of competing the week before a major championship or taking the week off?
 
Hewitt:
Depends what kind of a player I was. This year I'd go to Houston because they have great barbecue on the range. Last year I might have skipped BellSouth. Never was a huge fan of Sugarloaf.
 
Kann:
Id take the week off and practice or see my teacher. I wouldnt want the risk of a poor weekend or a missed cut factoring into my mind going into a major. Id stay home, enjoy the family and dominate on PlayStation to up my confidence.
 
Rolfing:
Thats an interesting question. I am at the Shell Houston Open, the week prior to The Masters and theyve set up the course to replicate Augusta National short rough, very fast greens and closely mown areas on the banks surrounding water hazards. For most of the players I think it would be helpful to compete. For top players who have more obligations, particularly with the media, it probably makes more sense to take the week off.
 
Baggs:
If I was playing well and was confident, I would take the week off and rest and practice at home. If I was playing poorly, I would compete, because I would want to work out my kinks in competition. This probably sounds like the exact opposite of what I should be doing, but I tend to figure out my problems more so during competition than I do on the range (things always look and feel good on the range; I need to know what works when it counts).
 
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
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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.