Notes PGA Tour Steroid Policy Lefty Sets Masters Menu


PGA Tour (75x100)Major League Baseball players began facing sanctions last year if they tested positive for illegal steroids. The NFL bans steroids and randomly tests its players. NBA rookies are tested up to four times a year, while veterans are subject to one random test during training camp.
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.'
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.
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.
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.
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.