Drug Testing to Take Place for First Time in Golf

By Associated PressJuly 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship HOYLAKE, England -- Short and plump, Fred Funk chuckled at the prospect of testing golfers for drugs.
 
'I wish they would accuse me of using steroids,' Funk said Wednesday, strolling quickly from the putting green to the locker room on the eve of the British Open. 'I would be honored, flattered.'
 
Of course, performance-enhancing drugs are no laughing matter. Golf, with a code of conduct calling for players to police themselves, lags behind the other major sports when it comes to a formal doping policy. That could change following Wednesday's announcement that testing will be done at the World Amateur Team championship at Stellenbosch, South Africa on Oct. 22-29.
 
'We don't think at the moment that there is much use of performance-enhancing drugs in golf,' said Peter Dawson, the chief executive of Royal & Ancient, which runs the oldest of golf's four major tournaments.
 
'We are, if you like, cutting our teeth on making sure that we can administer that properly,' said Dawson, adding the tests would be a good first step toward developing an effective doping system. 'It's a rehearsal. I don't know when you're going to see drug testing in professional golf around the world, but we would support it.'
 
On the PGA TOUR, there's a definite divide between those who want the top pros tested and those who say it would be a waste of time, money and effort.
 
'We're self-policing out here,' Funk said. 'You're either good enough or you're not good enough. I don't think drugs will help you get better.'
 
But mindful of the scandals that have bedeviled baseball, cycling and track, Tom Pernice Jr. said he believes golf needs to send a clear signal that performance enhancers won't be tolerated. He said a detailed testing program, complete with a list of banned substances, is the only way to deliver that message.
 
'I think so, for the future of the sport more so than what's going on today,' Pernice said. 'We need to do it for the college and high-school kids.'
 
He worries that many up-and-coming players will turn to drugs as a way to compete in a sport increasingly ruled by bigger, longer-hitting players, who often spend as much time in the weight room as on the driving range.
 
'The young people out there can see how important power has become,' Pernice said. 'The top five or 10 players are all long hitters who don't necessarily hit it very straight. Of course, they do other things very well, but the kids see the power.'
 
Pernice conceded there are whispers in the locker room every time a player bulks up during the offseason.
 
'When people get bigger in a short period of time, it makes you wonder,' Pernice said.
 
Several golfers questioned whether there would be any real benefit from using steroids once they stepped on the course. A golf swing relies on timing, speed and flexibility more than pure power. Also, there have been dramatic improvements in technology, leading to longer shots.
 
'Are guys doing it? I don't think so,' J.J. Henry said. 'It would hurt you more than it would help you. You want to stay loose and limber, not get all bulked up. When I'm working out in the fitness trailer, I'm trying to stay as loose and limber as possible.'
 
Dick Pound, leader of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said he has heard it all before.
 
'It sounds like baseball, doesn't it?' he said when reached on his cell phone Wednesday. 'If you look around golf, the shapes are changing from what they used to be. I'm not sure all this stuff is due to technology. Guys are working in gyms, and someone comes along and says, 'You should try this. It will build you up and make you get better faster.''
 
Dawson said the R&A -- which governs golf everywhere in the world except the United States -- supports drug testing to put the sport in line with WADA's code and to keep performance-enhancing substances from creeping into the game.
 
Pound said he has discussed the issue with PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, who was reticent about a drug-testing program.
 
Since steroids are illegal without a prescription, Finchem doubts few players would take the risks inherent in using them.
 
But, he added, 'I have authority from my board to require a test of any player who I have reason to believe, or our team has reason to believe, is using illegal steroids.'
 
Finchem apparently bases that power on a broadly worded introduction to the players' handbook that governs conduct. It mentions situations from passing bad checks to maintaining a neat appearance -- but nothing about drugs.
 
'In golf, a player is charged with following the rules,' Finchem insisted. 'He can't kick his ball in the rough, and he can't take steroids. We rely on the players to call rules on themselves, and if you look at our tour over the years, many players have, to their significant financial detriment.
 
'That,' he added, 'is the culture of the sport.'
 
Related Links:
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”