QA - Tigers Drug Test

By Frank ThomasJuly 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from GOLF CHANNEL's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Every week we will select the best question and Frank will send one lucky golfer a personally signed copy of 'Just Hit It'. Last week's lucky winner was Jim, with his question about 'toe up' on putters and drivers.
 
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Tiger's Drug Test
 
Frank
I read with great interest your column a couple of weeks ago about Doctoring Clubs and whats to stop players from doing it. I loved your answer, which said there is nothing to stop them other than the rules. Now we see that drug testing has become part of golf at the most skilled level.
 
I quote from an article on The Golf Channel.com;
 
Anyone tested at the AT&T National will have an escort on the elevator to the third floor, where the testing takes place in a two-room suite behind a locked door. One side of the room has a large cooler with non-carbonated drinks. The other side is where a player registers, washes his hands and goes into the bathroom with an inspector to provide a urine sample
 
And
 
The PGA TOUR reluctantly joined the modern era of sports at the AT&T National when its anti-doping program took effect, featuring random testing for some 500 players on its three circuits and sanctions that include a lifetime ban for the third offense
 
What has happened to our game?
-- Jerry

 
Jerry,
You have just pushed one of my HOT buttons.
 
I reviewed the article you reference and find that it also talks about the educational process in relation to the banned substances.
 
'The tour spent seven months educating players on banned substances, why they are on the list, how they can get in the body and how to seek a therapeutic use exemption for certain substances.' This we can only assume covers all performance enhancing substances.
 
The article continues to talk about how, '[Tiger] Woods said he has tested himself twice, the second time because he changed the brand of the amino acid in his nutritional program. He said both tests came back clean.'
 
Does the requirement that players be tested -- now that a rule is in place defining what is not permitted (in essence no performance enhancing substances) -- not strongly imply that they cannot be trusted to abide by this rule?
 
If so, why should officials trust any player to abide by any other rule and call infractions -- not observed or known to anyone but the player -- on him/herself?
 
For the sake of our wonderful game and maintaining the integrity on which it is built, I sincerely hope that the practice of drug testing and the perceived need to do so passes soon. We do not have to prove to the World of Sport or anybody else that we are clean. The sooner we recognize that golf differentiates itself from other sports, in that it is a guiding principle that we call infractions on ourselves, the better will we be able to protect the integrity of our game.
 
Tiger should not have to test himself if he knows that the amino acids in his diet are not being injested for the sole purpose of enhancing his performance. If players knowingly use substances for the sole purpose of enhancing performance and still pass 'the test' then surely they are violating the intent of the rule?
 
Sorry Jerry, but the game is too important to me and a lot of us, to allow anything like this to fracture the code of ethics upon which the game was founded.
 
Let's hope it passes quickly.
Frank
 
Why Nicklaus Could Have Won More Majors
 
Mr. Thomas
 
I really do not know if this is an appropriate question; however I have received my copy of 'Just Hit It', signed by you, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
 
I wasnt keen on the chapters on early golf history, however once you started on the 1900 era and onward I really enjoyed it.
 
My question, why did it take you 20 years to tell my favorite and best golfer in the World, Jack Nicklaus, that the ball he was playing was inferior to some of the other golf balls and that these other brands might improve/enhance his game immensely? I believe as I think you stated he surely would have won many more majors with a better ball.
 
Thanks
 
-- George

 
George,
Thanks for the kind comments about my book 'Just Hit It'. Without knowing where you are, you really dont know where you are going, thus a little of the history is important to establish a reference point. You have however, successfully navigated the background to get to the juicy bits.
 
With regard to my friend and your favorite golfer Jack Nicklaus who I too admire very much, I was unable to advise him of my findings as these were confidential for a certain number of years.
 
As I implied in the book, I do sincerely believe that Jack exhibited his greatness through his extraordinary performance using an inferior ball to that used by his fellow competitors.
 
I am sorry that I was unable to tell him sooner but I think that he too knew that all the errors he experienced during that period were not his alone but had something to do with the equipment. He went on to do great things after he switched balls.
 
Thanks for your concern and I do appreciate that through the book I have been able to give you a different insight into our wonderful game, which now needs our help. To stay updated on how you can help the game, please sign up as a Frankly Friend by clicking here.
Frank
 
Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
 
Frank Thomas

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18