Press Pass Completing the Slam Testing for Drugs

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 28, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass. You can also give your take on our questions. Just click on the link and e-mail your responses to all four questions to us. We'll publish select answers each Friday in our Press Pass: Readers' Forum.
Hot Topic
Annika Sorenstam has said that she wants to win the seasonal Grand Slam. Do you see her or any other current LPGA Tour player ' including Michelle Wie ' ever being able to accomplish that feat?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Michelle Wie needs to win a golf tournament, any golf tournament, before she begins thinking about a calendar Grand Slam. I honestly think Lorena Ochoa may have a better chance to win the Grand Slam this year even though I realize she hasn't yet won her first major. Annika's probably got a two- or three-year window for the seasonal Grand Slam.
Kraig Kann Kraig Kann - Anchor, GOLF CHANNEL:
In a short answer to Annika ' no. I think she could, but I dont think she will. Her odds were better a few years ago when the likes of Creamer, Ochoa and other young guns werent around. Could Wie do it? Yes. And I think shell give it a good run before her career is done.
Mark Rolfing Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
It is unlikely that anyone would be able to win the seasonal Grand Slam, but if someone were going to accomplish this I think it would be Lorena Ochoa.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
If Wie reaches her potential -- and keeps her primary focus on women's golf -- I think she could dominate like Annika did in the early part of this decade. That would be the only way I could ever see any current female sweep the majors in the near future. I think the tour is too deep right now and there just isn't one player who is far and away better than everyone else.
Hot Topic
The Mission Hills course, which hosts this weeks Kraft Nabisco, ends with the par-5 18th. Do you like par-5 finishing holes in tournaments?
I have no problem with par-5 finishers, especially if they are shortish with a lot of risk-reward. The 13th at Augusta would be a fabulous finishing hole. Also, I don't mind a par-3 final hole. Imagine someone making an ace on the 72nd hole to win a major.
Not really. A par-5 finish gives such an advantage to the longer hitter. It forces his or her counterpart to be precise with a wedge to make birdie that way and hope against a potential eagle. Actually, to make things more even, Ill take a par-3 finish. Imagine Bay Hills 17th as a finishing hole. Now that provides fair drama.
I like any type of finishing hole where there can be more than a one stroke swing, regardless of whether it is a par 4 or 5. For example the 18th at Bay Hill or the 18th at TPC Sawgrass (par 4s) both can produce 2 or 3 shot swings as can the 18th at Pebble Beach which is a par 5.
I like a par-5 finish, on two conditions: 1) it is reachable for at least an above average hitter. 2) there is some kind of risk-reward. To make a par-5 finishing hole 650 yards is pointless, but if it gives at least half of the field a chance to go for it in two then it creates excitement. Also, if you're going to give players a chance to make eagle, you must also put in play bogey or worse. Make it accessible, but make it penal if the player makes a mistake. Just don't make it a par-3, like at East Lake.
Hot Topic
Should the PGA TOUR follow the LPGAs lead and implement a drug-testing policy?
I do not think it's important for the PGA TOUR to have a list of banned substances. Much more important to monitor balls and implements (not necessarily restrict, but monitor) in our sport than to police a problem that doesn't exist.
No. Im so tired of drugs being a part of any conversation in sport. Golf is supposed to be pure. If Skip Kendall starts averaging 310 off the tee, then well revisit it.
Performance enhancing drugs have no place on either the LPGA or the PGA Tour however just as in the rules of golf where the players police themselves I think theyre capable of policing themselves regarding performance enhancing drugs. Therefore, I say no to drug testing but yes to a list of banned substances.
Certainly. It's easy to say that there is no problem and thus there is no need to test for a problem that doesn't exist. How do we know that there isn't a problem? Steroids and HGH might not be prevalent in golf, but I can see how they would be beneficial to a player. Look at how many pitchers have been caught using illegal drugs in baseball. They, like golfers, don't want to be overly muscular, but they do want to increase strength and recovery time in relation to fatigue and injury. Most likely, there is no problem. But we can't be 100 percent certain unless a testing policy is in place.
Hot Topic
With the Masters on the horizon: If you were a player, would you be in favor of competing the week before a major championship or taking the week off?
Depends what kind of a player I was. This year I'd go to Houston because they have great barbecue on the range. Last year I might have skipped BellSouth. Never was a huge fan of Sugarloaf.
Id take the week off and practice or see my teacher. I wouldnt want the risk of a poor weekend or a missed cut factoring into my mind going into a major. Id stay home, enjoy the family and dominate on PlayStation to up my confidence.
Thats an interesting question. I am at the Shell Houston Open, the week prior to The Masters and theyve set up the course to replicate Augusta National short rough, very fast greens and closely mown areas on the banks surrounding water hazards. For most of the players I think it would be helpful to compete. For top players who have more obligations, particularly with the media, it probably makes more sense to take the week off.
If I was playing well and was confident, I would take the week off and rest and practice at home. If I was playing poorly, I would compete, because I would want to work out my kinks in competition. This probably sounds like the exact opposite of what I should be doing, but I tend to figure out my problems more so during competition than I do on the range (things always look and feel good on the range; I need to know what works when it counts).
Click here to e-mail us your take on all of the above four questions. We'll publish select reader responses on Friday.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”