Michael Bamberger wonders what golf would do if a drug scandal comes along and whether fans would really care.
Donald Trump, the budding golf impresario who would own a baseball team in a New York minute if he thought he could make money at it, said a while back, "Do you care if these ballplayers are using steroids? I do not. I just want to see them hit home runs." Trump has a knack for saying what others are thinking, which may explain why baseball set attendance records in 2007, steroid scandal and all.The equipment has been juiced and most just want to know where they can buy the same fix. However, attendance in golf most certainly isn't setting records. Either way, the authorities have known the equipment was juiced and chose to do nothing, therefore the cost, pain and degrading nature of drug testing is the result. No need to sympathize.
For golf fans, the question is really the same. It's the answer that makes all the difference. When a professional golfer clocks a drive 360 yards and straight, it's an awesome sight, right? But would you find it less awesome if you suspected the golfer was juiced?
On another note, the PGA Tour is already suggesting privately that writers will declare the testing insufficient or not-credible after no one tests positive.
It's a clever bit of spin, perhaps even dreamed up by the Powell-Tate folks, designed to make scribblers feel guilty when they sit down to write a column wondering why no one flunked the testing. I'm of the school that the mere introduction of testing will serve the most important purpose: stopping kids from trying something that could do serious harms to their bodies.
I also believe that drug testing in golf will go the same way driver testing went: right off everyone's radar screen.