Friday, November 16, 2007

Put on Your Tin Helmets...

...cause I'm about to get conspiratorial in this piece. A commenter on my post about the media loving the LPGA Tour policy wondered why PGA Tour Commish Tim Finchem would wait until July 2008 before implementing their drug testing policy when the LPGA Tour will begin theirs immediately in 2008.

In the AP report describing the program and its timing, here is how Finchem rationalizes the wait:

PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said players will receive a manual next month as part of an education program that will extend through June, with testing to follow.
(And just in case you're curious about the N'Wide and Champ Tours:

An education program for the Nationwide Tour will begin in the middle of next year, with testing to start toward the end of the 2008 season. On the Champions Tour for players 50 and older, the education program will start in January 2009, with testing expected to start in the middle of that year.)
Who needs an education program to tell them not to take any of the banned substances on the list, and that, if they do, they must have a medical exemption to do so? It sounds to me like the Tour is giving players time to get it all out of their systems before the testing actually begins. That way, if a player is doping currently, they have several months to finish their last treatments and get off of the drugs in question. If they don't by July, then it's their own fault.

Still, stalling for that potential reason leads me to believe that, in his heart of hearts, Tim Finchem knows some players are probably using illegal substances. He also knows that if any player is caught during a random test that he will look like a dope (har har) for denying the Tour needs to do any testing.

Remember the role of the Commish as Finchem sees it: don't make anyone mad or look bad. That includes yourself.

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