Day 5 Players Talks Steroids

By Mercer BaggsDecember 24, 2007, 5:00 pm
Editor's note; In the holiday spirit, the Team is counting down the 12 Days of Golf, the most memorable days of the 2007 season. This is Day 5
Day 5July 18, 2007. Wednesday before the start of the 136th Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Usually a quiet day, the eve of a major championship. Usually, players are rounding the course one last time in preparation. Some try to work out the kinks on the range; others just try to relax by joking around with one another on the practice green, or hanging out at the hotel.
Gary Player
Gary Player started a firestorm with his steroid comments at the British Open. (Getty Images)
Usually, the press room is rather low key itself. A few players stop by on schedule to drop a few quotes, but mainly its a bunch of suits making announcements and going blah, blah, blah about their organization.
This Wednesday, the 18th of July, Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia and Nick Faldo were set to speak, along with a couple of important figures from the Royal and Ancient.
Oh yeah, and a guy who won this major championship way back in 1959 and 68 and 74.
If ever there was a scene stealer in golf, it would be Gary Player. If ever there was someone who liked to regale their sporting accomplishments, it would be Gary Player. And if ever there was someone to kick up dust relating to a subject most in the sport of golf wanted to stay buried, it would be Gary Player.
The interview session started innocently enough, with the 71-year-old talking about, naturally, himself, and how he won on this very venue over the great Jack Nicklaus in 19-hundred and 68.
This lasted for a little while, before he was asked to talk about Tiger Woods and his accomplishments. He went on to discuss Ben Hogan and modern equipment; his perception of Carnoustie now and then; and Seve Ballesteros retirement, which was announced two days prior.
And then someone asked Player about fitness, following his first question with a second one that went as follows: when the Tour starts testing for steroids next year, would it surprise you if a player tested positive?
No, not at all, Player responded. He then went on to talk at length about fitness and how players were stronger back in his day, and how Arnold Palmer would have put down Tiger in an arm wrestling match.
Then the steroid question was reiterated. And Player took the bait.
No, (it would) not surprise me because I know that there are golfers, some of them are doing ' whether its HGH, whether its creatine or whether its steroids ' I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it, he said.
I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it.
The use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs is THE hottest topic in professional sports (and rising in temperature on the amateur level).
The topic, however, was lukewarm at best in the world of golf. Until Players spark.
Player was asked to guess what percentage of professional golfers around the world use performance-enhancing drugs. He estimated no less than 10 percent.
That might not seem like a great number, but consider that people like PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem have asserted that there is no need for drug testing in their sport because everyone is so obviously clean.
That Player believed otherwise was no big deal. That he said he knew for a fact that players were taking steroids and the like was.
When asked to elaborate on how he could be so certain, Player responded: Because one guy told me. One guy told me and I took an oath prior to him telling me and somebody else told me something that I also promised I wouldnt tell that verified others had done it.
Somebodys and someones. People wanted names. Not just the reporters in attendance, but players and fans, who later heard, read and were told of his assertions.
Player never would fess up and name names. Because of that, players like countrymen Ernie Els and Retief Goosen denounced his statements. If youve got proof, they said, give us proof. He claimed to have it, but felt compelled to hide it.
'He knows two (players who have used steroid)? I know zero,' six-time major winner Nick Faldo said. 'Never heard of anybody.'
Players comments hovered over Carnoustie like a dark cloud. Padraig Harringtons stirring playoff victory over Sergio Garcia meant that this Open Championship would be forever remembered by the actions on the course.
But the accusations made off it would not be forgotten.
I don't think there's even a remote chance that will happen,' Phil Mickelson said of a golfer testing positive for steroids.
Well find out next year. The PGA TOUR (and LPGA Tour) announced it would implement a drug policy in 2008.
This likely would have happened, at some point, without the Gary Player-induced firestorm. But his flammable comments certainly had to help put some heat on pushing up the process.
Of all the interviews in all the press conferences from all the players this year, none were more memorable ' or controversial ' than the one provided by Gary Player on July 18.
Related Links:
  • Player: I Know of Steroid Users
  • 12 Days of Golf Countdown
  • Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.