Garry Smits pens a lengthy piece on the possibility of steroids in golf and once again various players just howl about the audacity of those who suggest a PGA Tour player might resort to performance enhancing drugs, and therefore, testing should be in place to ensure that the players of tomorrow don't resort to extreme measures.
Considering that many of these players are the same chaps who refuted the idea that lax equipment regulation led to distance increases but instead said the distance was coming from those rigorous
minutes hours they were spending in the fitness trailer getting a deep tissue ego massage.
Yes, the same folks who cited athleticism as the primary source of distance increases, now say that the idea of strength enhancing steroids entering the game is simply not fathomable!
You know, if only today's poorly regulated equipment didn't give a disproportionate advantage to those with strength and height, this debate might not be happening. Just a thought.
Anyway, the highlights from the Smits piece. Starting with Vijay, who doesn't sound like he's ready to pee in a cup.
"Look up and down the range," Singh said. "No one looks like they're on anything. No one comes back from the offseason looking like Barry Bonds."
Rank-and-file players from struggling young professionals to Hall of Fame members say there isn't a problem now, and don't anticipate one in the future. Many say until examples surface, a mandatory testing program would be a costly exercise in proving the obvious.
"Testing would be a complete waste of time," Jesper Parnevik said. "I think you're talking about drugs that would ruin someone's game, not help it."
A guy who eats sand says that testing is a waste of time?
This is fun from Davis Love...
Love has been a party to those discussions and will, with the rest of the board, sign off on any future testing program. He isn't happy that the Tour could be forced to test because of public opinion, rather than hard evidence that a player is using steroids.
"We've been told it will cost between $3 and $5 million a year to test, and that's for urine testing," Love said. "Blood testing will be higher. That's $5 million that could be going to charity. But you don't see a whole lot of huge guys on the PGA Tour. Do we have a problem now? I don't see it."
$5 million? Is PGA Tour Championship Management handling the testing?
I don't believe this next point has been raised in other stories about why steroid usage would be bad...
Walter Taylor, a sports medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic, said there is no evidence anabolic steroids would help a golfer's overall game, especially at the PGA Tour level.
"You would obviously see an improvement in physical strength, but from what I know about golf, that's not the most important thing," Taylor said. "The side effects also would seem to be detrimental to a golfer. One of them is severe mood swings, and to succeed in golf at that level, I would guess the players would want to be on an even keel."
Tour players say holding their emotions in check is an important component of any round, tournament and season. Holmes, for example, said he would be leery of anything that got him too high or too low.
"Controlling your emotions is a lot more important than distance," he said.
Riehl said Tour players are afraid of two things: taking substances they think might be detrimental to their game (Woods, who suffers from frequent colds and allergies, won't even take over-the-counter medication on days he plays) and losing flexibility in their swings.
"Golf is a technique sport and the strongest guy doesn't always win," he said. "And distance is not necessarily a derivative of strength. Distance is being able to manufacture a faster clubhead speed through the ball. The faster the club hits the ball, the further it will go. You get that by being flexible. And I can also tell you right now, these guys [Tour players] are afraid of taking anything when they're playing."
And in the buried lead of the year department, Smits offers this from Gerry James, two-time World Long Drive champion...
James would not reveal any names, but he said he knows of some PGA Tour players who use a low-dose testosterone cream to help recovery from muscle strain and fatigue. He said they are being used in amounts small enough that don't enhance a player's ability to hit the ball farther.
Whether the amount in those situations is within tolerance limits under a future Tour testing program is up to the Tour, he said.