In light of Vijay Singh's recent admission, Tiger Woods reveals he's only been tested once by the PGA Tour out of competition
Published on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 09:27AM EST
The PGA Tour’s drug testing policy has been in the spotlight of late given Vijay Singh’s recent admission that he used a product which contained a banned substance. Since the Tour put its drug testing policy in place in 2008, there’s been only one publicly acknowledged drug suspension - Doug Barron, a 40-year-old journeyman, who was suspended in 2009 for what the Tour called “supplemental testosterone and a beta-blocker”. So it was interesting to learn that Tiger Woods, the highest profile star in the sport, has only been subjected to one out of competition drug test.. and that was more than four years ago!
“I didn't play in the event, but I was tested at the (2008) World Challenge,” he told reporters while preparing to play at the Match Play Championship.
As Karen Crouse of the New York Times found out, Tiger wasn’t the only one getting infrequent visits to provide a urine sample.
Out-of-competition testing is considered important because it provides a deterrent to athletes who might want to take banned substances to aid their recovery from hard training or an injury.
Stuart Appleby, who is among the top 20 on the career money list, said: “If they have the ability to test outside of competition, the question is, have you exercised the option? If they’re not doing it or not disclosing it, is there a reason behind it?”
Of the tour players questioned, many said they had been tested fewer than three times in the past year, and always at a tournament site.
By comparison, Missy Franklin, a swimmer who won four gold medals at the London Olympics, has been tested 14 times by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency since March 29, 2012, including four times outside of competition. In two of the tests, urine and blood samples were collected. She was also tested four other times by FINA, the sport’s international federation.
While the PGA Tour’s current testing procedures does not require players to give their whereabouts, all of that will change in 2016. As an Olympic sport in Rio, players designated as potential Olympic athletes will be subjected to out-of-competition testing, not only at the golf tournaments, but at their homes and training facilities. As well, testing could include the collection of blood which is not currently done by the PGA - at least not that we’re aware of. During the Singh brouhaha, it was noted that the banned substance the Fijian was injesting from the deer antler spray - IGF-1 -would likely have been exposed via a blood test.
YOU’VE BEEN SERVED: Speaking of the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee was officially notified about a legal dispute over the ownership of the site of the planned 2016 Olympic golf course.
A court official visited the hotel where IOC officials were staying Wednesday to have the president of the coordination commission for the 2016 Games, Nawal El Moutawakel, sign the order notifying her and the IOC of the dispute.
There has been a long legal dispute over the land that is claimed by two different companies. Local organizers say they have enough guarantees from the businessman who says he is the current owner, but a judge has already said that any contracts made over the land will eventually be deemed illegal and nullified in case a court ruling goes against him.
The IOC and 2016 Rio committee have downplayed the issue as golf prepares to make its return to the games for the first time in 110 years.
The IOC's coordination commission is making its first official visit of the year to Rio, and fourth since the city won the bid to host the games in 2009.
ROAD TO AUGUSTA: The road to the Masters starts in Marana. At least for some European Tour members.
Alex Noren arrived at the Match Play Championship at No. 51 in the world, and when he says this is a big week, he has more than just this tournament on his mind.
The ultimate goal is to be in the top 50 on March 31 to get into the Masters. But there figures to be a lot of movement in the coming weeks, and Noren needs to make sure he gets as many chances as possible. This is where it gets tough on the Swede, and a few other international players like him.
The top 50 in the world after the Match Play are eligible for the next World Golf Championship in two weeks at Doral. So if Noren doesn’t at least get by Dustin Johnson in the opening round, the Swede won’t get another chance at picking up big ranking points. He is not a PGA Tour member, and thus is not in the Honda Classic.
“I’ve got to win a few matches to keep in the top 50,” Noren said. “I’m trying to play good tournaments.”
So it’s make-or-break time for guys like Noren, Shane Lowry (68), Stephen Gallacher (56) and Marcus Fraser of Australia, who is No. 54.
And while the Match Play typically offers 74 points to the winner, keep in mind that everybody in the top 64 is at Dove Mountain (except Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker), so winning a match or even two matches is not likely to make up much ground.
Fourteen of the 64 players at Dove Mountain are not in the Masters. Of that group, only one is an American — Charles Howell III, who grew up in Augusta.
STANDING UP FOR ST. ANDREWS: Geoff Ogilvie is the latest to take a swipe at the R&A’s decision to overhaul a few of the holes at St. Andrews which caused quite a furor in the golfing community late last year.
Speaking to HK Golfer, the former U.S. Open champion and a golf course architect himself these days called it “embarassing” and “disgusting” that changes to the Old Course were even considered, let alone being carried out.
“It’s like ‘The Mona Lisa is fading a little so let’s put some colour into her face, people will enjoy it more’. Or ‘The Sistine Chapel is bit small now for the number of people who want to go through it, let’s make it bigger.’
“The reason the sport is what it is, is because of St. Andrews. It didn’t evolve to the point where it’s at because of people doing what they’re doing right now. It evolved, it didn’t get designed. It came because of nature, all the balls finishing in one place so there were lots of divots and that spot became a bunker. It’s the first place that anyone should ever study when they think about golf course architecture ...and the last place they should touch!”
Ogilvy also took offence to the way the situation was handled by the R&A.
“It felt like they’d been sneaking around. They knew there would be a backlash so they made sure they had the bulldozers out there ready before anyone could stop it.”
“They could have done that at any point in the next year but they chose to announce it at the same time as the long putter thing, when the whole world was focused on that.”
“Surely they know they’re doing something wrong if they have to sneak it in under a bigger announcement? You’re not that confident about what you’re doing are you?”
NUMBERS GAME: Sony Open winner Russell Henley began his rookie season with nine of 10 rounds in the 60s. He has failed to break par his last four rounds. ...The top four players from the FedEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour are not at the Match Play Championship.
BEAUTY SHOT: From it’s list of 100 Greatest Courses, Golf Digest has come up with its top 10 most aesthetically-pleasing courses.
At No. 10, Wade Hampton Golf Club in North Carolina
No. 9, National Golf Links in Southampton, NY
No. 8, Pacific Dunes in Oregon
No. 7, Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, NY
No. 6, The Alotian Club in Arkansas
No. 5, Pine Valley in New Jersey
No. 4, Fishers Island in New York
No. 3, Pebble Beach
No. 2, Augusta National
and at No.1.... Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, California
HOLA, BIG BREAK: Golf Channel’s Big Break is making a run for the border as the reality series heads to Mexico and the Pete Dye designed 18-hole championship course, the Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Riviera Maya.
For the 19th edition of the popular series, Big Break Mexico will feature a cast of six men and six women competing in a mixed team format - similar to Big Break Ireland. On the line for the winner is an exemption into the 2013 LPGA’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational or the 2013 PGA Tour event at Mayakoba, now known as the OHL Classic.
No word yet on the cast but Golf Channel did say former world number one Lorena Ochoa makes an appearance, taking part in one of the challenges. Ochoa also gets to try out the show’s signature challenge - The Glass Break - and she manages to shatter the glass in her first attempt.
The series is set to premier on Monday, May 13.
IT'S IN THE HOLE, X 9: A group of nine students at Campbell University in North Carolina recently teamed up for an amazing trick shot. Nine members of Campbell's PGA Golf Management program lined up and sank their putts at the same time in the same hole. The seniors said the trick was inspired by a simlar video done by students at the Golf Academy of America in Florida, who sank six shots in a row.
"It seems like every rain delay or snow delay that we have, you just seem to sit there and eat dessert, and there's a bunch of yummy chocolates in there and you just sit there and eat chocolates and drink a lot of Coca-Cola." -- Jason Day, on how he spent the snow delay in Arizona
Files from the Associated Press were used in this report