Notes Norman Calls for Drug Testing

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 15, 2003, 4:00 pm
SANDWICH, England (AP) -- First, it was Tiger Woods calling for a crackdown on illegal clubs. Now, Greg Norman wants all golfers to be subjected to random drug testing.
While stressing that he doesn't think illegal substances are being used, Norman said Tuesday that testing would eliminate any lingering doubts that long-hitting players are pumping up pharmaceutically.
'Because of the peak performance these athletes are trying to get into, are they using performance-enhancing drugs?' he asked. 'I doubt it, because golf doesn't allow that to happen. You need to be very calm and within yourself.
'Now, I say that without any medical degree or background. There could be stuff out there that caters to that.'
In April, three-time major champion Nick Price speculated some players would resort to steroids to keep up with stronger competitors and the trend toward lengthening courses. Last month, drug tests were conducted on the European Tour for the first time after the final round of the French Open.
The lack of a widespread testing policy is a major impediment to golf being included in the Olympics, a proposal floated over the past decade.
Norman believes most golfers would willingly go along with random testing, perhaps four or five players at each event.
'Like with the equipment, I support mandatory testing, every now and then,' he said. 'Just a spot check. Keep the guys alert.'
Going against the trend in major championships, Royal St. George's is giving the golfers a break.
The treacherous fourth hole was a par-4 when the tournament was last played at Sandwich 10 years ago. For this British Open, No. 4 has been extended 30 yards and converted to a par-5.
Par for the course is now 71.
'I'm not quite sure why they did that,' Brad Faxon said. 'That's a pretty short par-5.'
Greg Norman, who won the 1993 British Open, said he would still play the hole like it's a par-4 -- even though the tee has been moved back 30 yards to increase the length to 497 yards.
'It's going to play exactly the same,' Norman said. 'It could have stayed as a par-4, even off that new tee.'
A 235-yard drive will carry the first set of bunkers, so it shouldn't matter which way the wind is blowing. The real teeth of the hole is the green, which is small, elevated and slopes sharply in all directions.
Masters champion Mike Weir said he's willing to take part in a golf exhibition to benefit Toronto's SARS-ravaged tourism industry.
The Globe and Mail, quoting sources it didn't identify, reported Tuesday that a plan was in the works to pair Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam for a prime-time match against Weir and fellow Canadian Lorie Kane.
The newspaper reported that the event would be held Aug. 25, most likely at the Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario.
While saying he's not aware of such an event, Weir endorsed the concept.
'It's fun to get away from the stress of grinding it out for four straight days,' he said. 'We could do something for SARS and Canada, kind of put a little boost back into the economy and people's perspective about what's really happening there, which has probably been blown out of proportion. I don't mind doing that at all.'
Outside of Asia, Toronto had the largest outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, a potentially deadly ailment. City officials insist the danger was overblown and are working to bring back tourists.
At the 1999 U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson wore a beeper and was prepared to rush home for the birth of his first child -- even if it cost him a chance to win a major championship.
Facing a similar predicament, Nick Faldo said he would probably play on if he's in contention for a third British Open title.
His wife, Valerie, is pregnant with their fourth child. She is due to give birth about 10 days after the tournament.
'I just told her to sit still,' Faldo quipped. 'I don't want her jumping around or going out and mowing the lawn or anything like that.'
If Faldo is contending for victory on Sunday, would he leave the course as Mickelson was willing to do?
'Come on, give me a scenario. Six-shot lead and the phone goes?' Faldo said, drawing laughter. 'I've been told to stay and play. That would be good. I would like to be in that position and see what happens. That would test me.'
Rich Beem stopped by the merchandise tent to help sell some clubs for his sponsors, though his first swing was hardly a ringing endorsement.
Beam, the winner of the 2002 PGA Championship, hit a few drives into a net while a computer analyzed his swing. When his first attempt was projected at 260 yards, he looked incredulously at the moderator.
'Don't believe everything you see there,' said Beem, whose driving average is 290.3 yards. 'That felt like 280.'
'So, you think it's conservative?' the moderator asked.
'I think it stinks,' Beem replied with a smile.
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    Watch: On 59 watch, Sneds dunks approach for eagle

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

    Brandt Snedeker was having a good day in Round 1 of the Wyndham Championship. And then he reached the green a the par-4 sixth at Sedgefield Country Club and his day got even better.

    Snedeker holed a 7-iron from 176 yards, on the fly, for an eagle-2. Playing his 15th hole of the day, Snedeker vaulted to 9 under par for the tournament.

    With Sedgefield being a par 70, Snedeker needed two birdies over his final three holes to shoot 59 and he got one of them at the par-3 seventh, where he hit his tee shot on the 224-yard hole to 2 feet.

    Snedeker actually had 58 in his crosshairs, but missed an 8-foot slider for birdie at the par-4 eighth.

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    Rosaforte Report: A tale of two comebacks

    By Tim RosaforteAugust 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Comeback (noun): A return by a well-known person, especially an entertainer or sports player, to the activity in which they have formerly been successful.

    Even by definition, the word comeback is subjective.

    There is no question that Brooks Koepka has completed his comeback. With two major championship victories that encompassed wins over Dustin Johnson and Tiger Woods, Player of the Year honors have already been locked up for the 2017-18 season.

    But knowing Koepka, he wants more. A No. 1 ranking, topping his boy D.J., is a possibility and a goal. A Ryder Cup is awaiting. By all rights, Koepka could be Comeback Player of the Year and Player of the Year all in one, except the PGA Tour discontinued its Comeback honor in 2012. Even without an official award, it’s fun to compare the cases of Koepka and Woods.

    What Woods has recovered from is remarkable, but not complete. He hasn’t won yet. With triumphs in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, Koepka has completed his comeback from a pair of wrist injuries that could have been equally as career-ending as the physical issues that Woods had to overcome just to contend in the last two majors.

    “There was a question on whether or not I’d ever be the same,” Koepka said Sunday night in the media center at Bellerive, following his third major championship victory in six tries. “Whether I could do it pain-free, we had no idea.”

    The wrist traumas occured five months apart, with the initial issue, which occured at the Hero World Challenge in December (in which he finished last in the limited field), putting him in a soft cast with a partially torn tendon. That cost the reigning U.S. Open champion 15 weeks on the shelf (and couch), including a start in the Masters.

    His treatment included injecting bone marrow and platelet-rich plasma. When he returned at the Zurich Classic in April, Koepka revealed the ligaments that hold the tendon in place were gone – thus a dislocation – and that every time he went to his doctor, “it seemed like it got worse and worse.”

    Koepka’s second wrist injury of the season occurred on the practice grounds at The Players, when a cart pulled in front of Koepka just as he was accelerating into the ball with his 120-plus mph club-head speed. Abruptly stopping his swing, Koepka’s left wrist popped out. His physio relayed a story to PGA Tour radio in which he advised Koepka before he reset the wrist: “Sit on your hand and bite this towel, otherwise you’re going to punch me.”

    Koepka admitted that he never dreamed such a scenario would threaten his career. He called it, “probably the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, setting that bone back.” But, testament to Koepka's fortitude, four days later he made an albatross and tied a TPC Sawgrass course record, shooting 63.

    Woods’ physical – and mental – recovery from back surgery and prescription drug abuse was painful and career threatening in its own way. As he said in his return to Augusta, “Those are some really, really dark times. I’m a walking miracle.”

    As amazing as it has been, Woods, by definition, still hasn’t fully completed his comeback. While he’s threatened four times in 2018, he hasn’t won a tournament.

    Yes, it’s a miracle that he’s gotten this far, swinging the club that fast, without any relapse in his back. As electric and high-energy as his second-place finish to Koepka was at the PGA, Woods has made this winning moment something to anticipate. As story lines go, it may be better this way.

    Coming off a flat weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone, Woods was starting to sound like an old 42-year-old. But instead of ice baths and recovery time, the conversation was charged by what he did on Saturday and Sunday in the 100th PGA.

    A day later, there was more good news. With Woods committing to three straight weeks of FedExCup Playoff golf, potentially followed by a week off and then the Tour Championship, that moment of victory may not be far away.

    Scheduling – and certainly anticipating – four tournaments in five weeks, potentially followed by a playing role at the Ryder Cup, would indicate that Woods has returned to the activity in which he was formally successful.

    There were times post-scandal and post-back issues, that Woods stuck by the lines made famous by LL Cool J:

    Don’t call it a comeback
    I’ve been here for years
    I’m rocking my peers

    Not this time. As he said Sunday before his walk-off 64 in St, Louis, “Oh, God. I didn’t even know if I was going to play again.”

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    Actor/Comedian Kevin Nealon Joins "Feherty," Monday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. ET

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 16, 2018, 1:15 pm

    Actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live) will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

    Filmed at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles last month, the episode will focus on numerous topics, including:

    • Nealon discussing his start in comedy in Los Angeles, where he worked as a bartender and filled in for comics who failed to show up for their act.
    • Reminiscing about his appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1984.
    • Reflecting on his nine-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
    • Recounting the time when his golf ball struck Adam Sandler during a round they were playing with filming Happy Gilmore.
    • Recalling time spent with Arnold Palmer during the filming of a commercial a few years ago.

    The following Monday (Aug. 27), Feherty will be joined by 20-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr at 9 p.m. ET, and then on Monday, Sept. 3 (9 p.m. ET), major champion Jimmy Walker will join as a guest for the series’ season finale.

    A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver, Golf Films as well as the network’s instruction platforms.

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    Thomas talks Tiger, plays 'Facebreakers' on 'Tonight Show'

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 pm

    Justin Thomas didn't successfully defend his title at last week's PGA Championship, but he did get a guest spot on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."

    Thomas appeared on the talk show Wednesday night and, of course, a primary topic was Tiger Woods' run at the Wanamaker Trophy.

    Thomas also played a game of "Facebreakers" with host Fallon, in which both men tried to break panes of glass emblazoned with the other's face with golf shots. Thomas nearly took out the real Fallon on his first shot, and after several uncessful attempts by both men, massive cheating ensued.