SBD/May 16, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Tim Finchem Says PGA Tour May Consider Implementing HGH Testing

Finchem admits golf rejoining Olympics could lead to HGH testing on Tour
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday said that the Tour "might reconsider testing for HGH," according to Hank Gola of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Speaking at The Players, Finchem said, "Possibly. I think that the big question about HGH is reliable testing. That's the challenge with all sports. That's the first question. And then the second question is if there is reliable testing available and it's only blood, do we want to go to blood, which is another step. ... We're testing for a lot of stuff right now that candidly doesn't make a difference but we do it so that our program has credibility in the anti-doping world." He admitted that with golf rejoining the Olympics in '16, HGH testing "could be forced upon the PGA Tour." Meanwhile, Finchem reiterated that he "put no pressure" on Tiger Woods to play last week. Woods withdrew from The Players Thursday due to injuries, and Finchem said yesterday, "We communicate with players all the time with weak fields, weak field events, and we encourage players to move their schedule around and try to include a weak field. We never go to a player and say, 'Would you please, please, please play this event, this event or any other event,' ever. I hope that sets the record straight" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/16). In Jacksonville, Garry Smits noted Finchem "seemed amused that the Tour could make its biggest star of the last 14 years do anything he didn't want to do." It is "fairly well-known that the Tour, if anything, tip-toes around Woods, as opposed to dictating any terms about anything to the player who has driven its train since 1997" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 5/13).

A LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE: USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio notes The Players moved to May in '07, and it "sounds like it won't be moving back to March anytime soon." Finchem yesterday said, "We like the flow of May; we like the weather. ... We're still working on getting this golf course ready, and this year we were helped by the weather. But we did a lot of things during the course of the year that should help us should we get another date. So we like it, players like it, fans like it, and we're very pleased with it thus far." He added that negotiations for a new TV contract "will begin this summer" (USA TODAY, 5/16). In DC, Barry Svrluga notes while "any dramatic shifts in the PGA Tour schedule likely won’t occur" until '13, when the Tour will have new TV contracts, Finchem "left open the possibility that there will be some movement next year." Changes next year "could, potentially, affect the AT&T National," Tiger Woods' tournament that is set to return to DC next summer. Finchem said, "It’s possible. We haven’t actually finalized things for next year, so there may be some movement." Svrluga notes AT&T National officials are "open to another date that might lure a better field" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/16).

YOUNG & THE RESTLESS: ESPN.com's Gene Wojciechoswki wrote the PGA Tour "got its golf shorts pulled down" yesterday when 41-year-old K.J. Choi defeated 44-year-old David Toms in a playoff to win The Players. Choi's victory "won't do much for what the tour fears most: life after you-know-who," and the last day of The Players "was like the Champions Tour Lite." Golf "craves superstars who win majors and dominate tournaments -- and the tour doesn't have one of those right now." Wojciechowski: "A playoff finish was exciting stuff Sunday, but the tour needs more, much more, than a 40-year-olds convention at its premier event. It needs the next Tiger" (ESPN.com, 5/15). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said with Tiger Woods out indefinitely with an injury, golf's future is "uncertain." If Woods returns and plays like an average golfer, “the Tour is going to be lessened, the Tour is going to be diminished” ("PTI," ESPN, 5/13).
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