Finchem PGA Tour clean on 1-year anniversary

By Doug FergusonJuly 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. ' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was the first to be tested for drugs under its anti-doping policy that began last year at the AT&T National. Tim Clark was the first player to be tested.
 
One year and more than a thousand random samples later, Finchem says the tour remains clean.
 
There have been no suspensions because of doping, Finchem said Wednesday. Its not going to surprise me if we have some issue, but I think whats clear is we do not have a doping problem. Having an issue or two as we go forward does not mean were having a problem. It could mean a lot of things. But ' knock on wood ' were very pleased at this point in time.
 
Under the anti-doping policy, the tour is required to notify the media if a player tests positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
 
Finchem declined to say, however, if anyone has tested positive for a recreational drug, such as marijuana.
 
While such drugs are covered under the policy, the tour treats that as conduct unbecoming a professional and would not make any positive tests public.
 
I said we have had not positive tests with respect to performance enhancing, he said. We may have had some test results that trouble us in other areas that we treat in a different bucket. But we dont publicize those.
 
We may in those instances ' Im not saying this has happened or not, Im just saying what the process is ' consider it conduct unbecoming, and what are our choices? We can suspend a player, we can fine a player, we can do both of those and put a player into treatment. We could also add to that regular treatment.
 
He asked to confirm if anyone has tested positive for recreational drugs.
 
I wouldnt say yes or no to that, he said. Ill say this ' we dont have a problem in that area.
 
Finchem said the International Olympic Committee observed the tours drug-testing procedures earlier this year and was impressed. And while he says golf remains clean on the one-year anniversary of testing, he would not be surprised if that changed.
 
I think when youre dealing with hundreds of athletes, and things can get into your body, we may very well have problems, Finchem said. But at this point, not only do the players accept the rule, they put it on the same level as any other rule of golf. They work hard to understand what they need to be doing. They stay updated, and weve avoided problems.
 

 
CONGRESSIONAL HIATUS: Most players have found Congressional to be in the best shape in the three years of the AT&T National, especially the greens. Just in time for the greens to be rebuilt for the U.S. Open in 2011.
 
Tournament host Tiger Woods will take the tournament to Aronomink outside Philadelphia for the next two years, as new greens are being installed and the U.S. Open is held. It will return through 2014, with an option for three more years.
 
Its unfortunate, with the U.S. Open coming here. We have no choice, Woods said. We have to go, and its part of what the USGA makes you do. I think the golf course can be in even better shape with the new greens.
 
Jim Furyk tied for fifth at Congressional in the 1997 U.S. Open, six shots behind Ernie Els. The course has been renovated since then and no longer closes with a par 3 over the water on the 18th.
 
Furyk already has noticed more changes, such as extended tee boxes. Hes mostly concerned about the greens, however.
 
The one thing you have here from a U.S. Open standpoint is that its very difficult to make the greens here too quick, he said. If you get them up there at 12, 13 (on the Stimpmeter), you really lose a lot of your pin placements, and you lose your ability to make the golf course playable.
 

 
GROOVES AND ROUGH: The PGA Tour is moving ahead with a USGA rule on smaller grooves next year, and commissioner Tim Finchem says there might be changes to how a golf course is set up ' but not right away.
 
Finchem says the rough has not been as high this year at several golf courses, main to compare the effect with previous years.
 
The reason we did that was to set the stage for now measuring what happens on those same golf courses when we shift grooves, he said. Youre not going to see us revolutionize our setup the first month of next year, but over time were going to be experiments with a lot of different ways to set things up.
 
Our hope is that this change is going to make the game more interesting to watch from a variety of perspectives.
 
He also said the tour is leaning toward applying the new grooves to Monday qualifying at PGA Tour events, but not the pre-qualifiers that are typically held five days earlier. Those pre-qualifiers rarely have PGA Tour members, while Monday qualifying that offers four spots in the tournament have more PGA Tour players.
 

 
GLOVER THE GOLFER: U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover played just about every sport until sticking with golf in the eighth grade.
 
It was an easy decision.
 
I was a short, dumpy kid, so I played line in football and I didnt like to be on the bottom of the pile, he said.
 
It ultimately came down between golf and baseball.
 
I was a catcher, and I got hit a few times where it didnt feel great, Glover said. So I pulled the plug on that pretty quick.
 
Someone found it hard to believe that Glover was short and dumpy. When did that change?
 
About the time I quit all those other sports, he said. My shoe size and my age were the same from when I was 7 to 14, if that tells you anything about how much I was growing.
 
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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."