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, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
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, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
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?
 
Hewitt:
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.
 
Kann:
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.
 
Rolfing:
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.
 
Baggs:
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?
 
Hewitt:
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.
 
Kann:
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.
 
Rolfing:
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.
 
Baggs:
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?
 
Hewitt:
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.
 
Kann:
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.
 
Rolfing:
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.
 
Baggs:
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.
 
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