Hey PGA pro: Get over it, pee in the cup
If in about 10 years 42-year-old Tiger Woods bulks up his 185-pound frame by 43 pounds, shaves his head and starts hitting the green on every drive, pundits will look back on 2008 and say “woulda, shoulda, coulda.”
That’s because pro golfers are now being confronted with the Professional Golfers Association’s new anti-doping policy. The problem is many players aren’t too excited by the idea.
Just think what Major League Baseball could have avoided had league officials, owners and the players union 10 years ago instituted a real anti-steroid program. An extremely talented 33-year-old Barry Bonds wouldn’t be a now-reviled 43-year-old with an asterisk by his name and Congress wouldn’t be calling ball players to D.C.
But even with what’s swirling around the likes of Bonds, Roger Clemens and a lineup of Major Leaguers ” not to mention a who’s who of pro cyclists and track stars ” golfers are resistant to their sport implementing an aggressive anti-doping program before a scandal actually hits the headlines.
Why? Apparently some golfers really rely on their Vicks Vapor Inhalers, which under World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines would be prohibited.
Hey Mr. Pro Golfer, get over it. In 2006, the average pro golfer earned $973,495, according to a Sports Illustrated article of that year. Probably higher today.
So before golfers get all indignant about being escorted once in a while to the potty by an anti-doping official, remember; all it takes is a couple of dopers to sully all your reputations and the advertisers will peel away faster than you can say “cheater.” So will a good bit of your $973,495.
The PGA’s new policy was announced last November, but drew little notice because the golf season was over. But the closer golf gets to testing ” July 8 is the target date ” the more resistance it meets, according to the Associated Press.
“I was caught off guard,” successful tour pro Jim Furyk told the AP. “I thought everyone was protesting. What I drew out of the meeting was that a few guys aren’t. Not a few. Let’s say more guys had negative opinions.”
Like saying they’d shoot WADA monitors who could make unannounced visits to golfers’ homes asking for pee samples.
That’s par for the course for cyclists. Just ask Lance, who never threatened to shoot a cup-bearing messenger.
Golfer Frank Lickliter suggested in so many words that a drug official bring a warrant.
“He’s going to have a hard time getting off my property without a bullet in his (behind),” Lickliter said.
Most of the hand-wringing by the golfers centers on concerns that an ingredient in, say, that Vicks inhaler, used innocently, could register in a doping test as a performance enhancer.
OK. That’s why WADA has therapeutic use exemptions.
And sure, the PGA and the doping agency can refine their approach for golf rather than using guidelines aimed at weeding out blood dopers wanting an oxygen boost.
However one slices it, golf’s yardstick ” Tiger ” isn’t too worried about testing. Asked recently about his diet, Woods said he knows exactly what goes into his body. He said 18 months ago that drug testing could start “tomorrow” and believes golf is “heading in the right direction of proving that our sport is clean.”
Instead of fighting testing for every golfer, whiners on the PGA tour should take note and press for the recommendation European Tour chief George O’Grady offered in half-jest last year about only testing Woods.
“If he’s clean,” O’Grady told the AP, “what does it matter what the rest of them are on?”
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