Finchem Calls for Universal Drug Testing in Golf
Even with Tiger Woods among those in favor of drug testing to prove golf is clean, Finchem has defended the tour's lack of plan because he has found no evidence of performance-enhancing drugs or evidence of players using them.
He conceded, however, that drug testing in sports has become a reality.
'It's unfortunate that these realities are with us, but they are,' Finchem said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. 'And we have to deal with them, and I think it's important that golf deal with them collectively.'
Woods said last summer that he didn't think anyone was using steroids, but it could be a problem in the future. Asked when he would like to see a drug-testing plan, Woods replied, 'Tomorrow would be fine with me.'
Finchem has moved a little slower.
The PGA TOUR policy board in November authorized the TOUR to develop a list of prohibited substances, along with creating an education program to inform players about how they might get into the body, the health risks, potential testing and possible penalties.
'We don't have a rule on performance-enhancing drugs; we never have had,' Finchem said. 'We're getting close on that. I suspect we'll be done with that certainly this year.'
Finchem said he is working with other golf organizations 'to see if we can't move forward together with respect to what a rule is, and then beyond that, in terms of the execution of the rule.'
He said that likely would mean a testing program 'so that we have a legitimacy to the rule.'
The LPGA Tour announced last year it would start drug testing in 2008. Commissioner Carolyn Bivens said the tour would develop its policy through the National Center for Drug Free Sport, which manages testing programs for the NCAA and other organizations.
The penalty for testing positive would be 25 tournaments for the first offense, 50 tournaments for the second offense and a lifetime ban for a third violation.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said last month that his tour would have a drug policy in January, and he urged that the golf world unite on any such policy.
'I personally don't think we've got a drug problem in professional golf. I haven't met anybody yet who thinks we have,' O'Grady said. 'But we work with governments in so many different countries. They are insisting on a wider list.'
In amateur golf, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and U.S. Golf Association -- which govern golf around the world -- did a sample test at the World Amateur Team Championship in South Africa late last year, and all 12 golfers came back clean.
Finchem recommended that all golf organizations develop a single standard on what to test for and how.
'In Europe, in particular, and in certain other areas of the world, the idea of testing in athletics is just a reality, because it's government required,' he said.
J.J. Henry, back in Connecticut defending his first tour win last year, said he doesn't think testing will have a big impact on the sport.
'A lot of people have talked about that integrity and honesty of golf is what makes it so special,' he said. 'I'd like to think there's none of that going on out here, to be honest with you.'
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Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.
Bernhard Langer did not.
The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.
"You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."
Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.
Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.
"I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."
Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.
As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.
"I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."
Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.
Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.
Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.
“It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”
Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.
“To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”
Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.
Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.
Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.
Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.
Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.
The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.
The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.
This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.
After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.
“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”