Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The wonderful world of drug testing

Welcome to the wonderful world of drug testing. In knee jerk reaction to the misconduct of athletes in other sports, the ruling class of the PGA Tour, the European Tour and the LPGA Tour decided that golf needed to show the world just how clean professional golf is.

What they produced was a bad joke. If any of these guys or ladies walks the aisles of Walgreens and CVS they’re liable to be suspended. It appears that if a professional golfer takes ANYTHING that relieves in any measure an ache or a pain, they’re going to get some time out.

If you’re wondering if the U.S. Open had been played this weekend instead of Father’s Day weekend, would Tiger Woods have been disqualified? If it was his week to be randomly tested, he would. Realistically, they wouldn’t even think of testing him on a week like that—no matter how obvious it was that he was taking something. Remember, there are rules for the rank and file of the PGA Tour and then there are rules for Tiger and they’re not very similar. Before you raise your indignity level, it’s called self preservation.

As we are seeing now, the PGA Tour is paying the price the NBA did when they built the league around Michael Jordan and he retired. The league floundered for a few years and is just now on the road to recovery, but did they learn from their mistake? I give you LeBron James.

Just a couple of weeks of the World Without Tiger and the PGA Tour is churning the PR mill and the world has been presented with 22-year old Anthony Kim as the heir apparent. Don’t get me wrong, Kim is a nice player with a tremendous upside, but he’s just 22. At 22, young adults are still making poor decisions. For instance, I got married at 22 and that was at least 30 years too soon. You still have to file Kim and his two wins this year under “potential.”

There are other players who could carry the load until Tiger returns, but unfortunately, they’re on the shelf as well and as of July 1st that was the Tour’s fault. Wouldn’t you think that Vijay Singh might want to take some anti-inflammatory medicine for his myriad of muscular ailments? Adam Scott might want to take the edge off the discomfort he has in the slight break in his right hand, but he can’t even think about it. There are others who are hobbled and could have helped themselves, but will have to weather the storm cold turkey costing them money and quality golf.

I know that part of golf is focus and stamina, but somewhere common sense has to be acknowledged. The people at the Titleist Performance Institute regarded as the best golf fitness group in the business thinks this policy to be ridiculous citing that there are no steroids or human growth hormones that could help a golfer. In fact, any effect would probably be counterproductive.

This is just a fa├žade for the real purpose of the drug test. By “joining” the other sports in keeping their game clean, Timmie Finchem and the boys can go to the International Olympic Committee with a proposal to put golf into the summer Olympics in four years.

Me? I go along with the European Tour executive who said, “We really only have to test one player, don’t we? If he’s not using anything, what difference will it make with the rest.”

Bartender, please pour me a whiskey and water and hold the whiskey. I don’t want to chance Timmie taking my laptop away for violating any of his foolish tests.

See you on the first tee.

Jack

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