Thursday, November 15, 2007

Loving the LPGA Testing Policy

The media is all over this story! I'm not going to copy to 8-10 stories that I've read lauding the LPGA Tour's new drug testing policy. In sum, though, people from all walks of sporting life are happy about it because:

  • The LPGA Tour was proactive in testing

  • Their banned substance list most mirrors WADA's list, unlike the NFL and MLB

  • The players all seem to be on board with it

  • The penalties for a positive test are stiff (1st violation - 1 year, 2nd - 2 years, 3rd - lifetime ban)

It's a good policy. I'm fully on board with it, especially as someone who had written that drug testing is a must-do in this sporting climate.

But, why the feel goods for the policy? The LPGA Tour rarely gets this kind of positive coverage from the media. I think some of it has to do with the latent disregard for Tim Finchem and his initial stance that the PGA Tour would not engage in drug testing and that he thought he did not need to subject Tour cardholders to that. Then, when he instituted the drug policy for sometime in 2008, he basically said it is being done because everyone pressured him into doing so.

In fact, he reiterated that point in an interview on Tuesday with the Golf Channel's Brian Hewitt:
And he reiterated that he doesn’t think the TOUR should be in the drug testing business, he said, because it runs counter to the culture of the sport. But, he added, he understands that golf, like all high profile sports in this day and age, must be like Caesar’s wife—above suspicion.
The LPGA Tour correctly went out on their own and saw the sporting climate in the world. From Floyd Landis to fellow University of Maryland alum "Lights Out" Shawn Merriman, athletes of stature are demonstrating a disregard for the rules of the game. In an effort to quell that mood in golf - and certainly some attempt at positive PR, which they are getting in spades - Commissioner Bivens went ahead and announced the policy and beat everyone else in the game to it.

The feel goods, then, I think are a combination of the LPGA Tour doing the right thing from start to finish and the media's blatant disregard for PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. The reasons for why it is happening, though, are fine with me.

1 comment:

Andy Brown said...

Why Mr Finchem is being so reluctant in implementing the drug testing policy is something that continues to baffle me. Drugs are a reality in this day and age and serious steps have to be taken to curtail this menace.

Tim Finchem's reluctance is clearly visible when he draws out a schedule that says players will be educated for nearly eight months and sometime late into next year the actual drug testing will start. He is just dragging his feet over an issue that needs to be dealt with in a firm manner.

Perhaps he believe along the lines of some others who say if Tiger Woods is clean, how does it matter what the others are on?