During Friday's TNT Open Championship telecast, Peter Dawson sat down with Paul Azinger and Ernie Johnson to tell us what an irresponsible man Gary Player was for not outting someone during his Wednesday press conference. (I'll post the exact remarks when TNT hopefully sends them out.) Peter Alliss chimed in later with the same remark, that Player should have named names.
Dawson had to scold Player for making such a surprise statement and he made sure to let us know that he believes golf is clean. Oh but, by the way, the R&A is initiating a drug testing policy at the same time!
Now, if Player is so off base and out of line and golf is so clean, why would the R&A be establishing a policy?
More perplexing was Azinger, who suggested that a drug testing policy and program was a "risk."
Other than the cost, policy issues and annoyance factor, what is the risk?
That up and coming players might be discouraged from popping an Effexor or injecting themselves with something that won't help their long term health?
What's the risk of drug testing in golf?
Here are the exact remarks from the nice folks at TNT:
Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, joined Ernie Johnson and Paul Azinger in the booth
Dawson on the 2007 Open Championship : “(The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews) could not be more pleased. This is an exciting Open Championship played on the toughest golf course that we have.”
Dawson on the criticism following the 1999 Open Championship : “To be honest, I think anytime you have a championship when the player reaction to a golf course is so negative, you have to be stung by it. What we’ve learned from that is just how important player reaction is.”
Dawson on the fine line of altering a course due to players’ complaints : “It’s a delicate line. The one issue we can never control in the United Kingdom is the weather pattern. We don’t interfere with the golf course as much as what is the norm in the United States. We let nature take its course.”
Dawson on Gary Player’s assertion that some PGA Tour players are taking performance enhancing drugs : “It came as something of a surprise. Just how Gary (Player) has this particular piece of information that nobody else seems to have is bit of a mystery to me. It goes down as another one of the smallest of unsubstantiated rumors about performance enhancing substances in golf.”
Azinger on Player’s claim : “I was blindsided by this as well. I’ve been on the tour 26 years and I haven’t heard anything at all. I don’t know anyone that is (using performance enhancers). Gary may have put his foot in his mouth a little bit. The players are angered by it and they want to hear some names (of users) if he wants to (make the assertion).”
Azinger on drug testing PGA Tour players : “It’s easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to this (claim) and want to test the players. It may be the right thing to do at this point. It’s also a risky thing to do, I don’t know if the sport needs it.”
Dawson on drug testing PGA Tour players : “It’s certainly a complex and costly exercise to introduce a fully-fledges anti-doping policy across the whole world of golf. I think today, golf may have to recognize in these modern times that we have to not just say we’re a clean sport but demonstrate it as well.”
Azinger on performance enhancing drugs versus advances of golf technology : “(Technology) has done a pretty nice job so far. The metal-wood has been the greatest advancement in the sport since I’ve been on the tour (26 years). More so than even the golf ball. If steroids help you make a four-footer, which I don’t think they can do, then I don’t think we have too big of a problem.”