Friday, August 25, 2006

Steroids: the smoke screen for the real drugs

It what is reminiscent of AOL perusing farmland in MA , The R & A will start testing its players for performance-enhancing drugs. This needle-in-a-haystack approach will start with this years world amateur team championship in Cape Town South Africa.

Is this just chest-pounding? Or is it the first volley in what could be an explosion of finger-pointing and second-guessing for the Teflon-proofed golf world.

If you listen to the PGA's Finchem...he believes that "just telling his players what the rules are" is good enough.


And if you listen to Tiger Woods "being proactive instead of reactive" is a better way to go.

Thanks Tiger.

Of course, neither is going to give the media a straight answer on what should be done to prevent performance-enhancing drugs in the sport.

But I will.

I bet the first thing you thought of when you read the words performance-enhancing drugs, was steroids. But you'd be wrong. Steroids aren't the real issue.

Thanks to baseball...steroid is the buzz-word of our era. Joe Public knows steroids as making ones muscles and forehead's pop out.....and privates shrink.
So everyone is thinking: that could never be used for golf right? This is all just poppycock....right?

Enter Floyd Landis. The Tour de France whipping boy.

Suddenly, thanks to the media's infatuation of an American cyclists "low testosterone" levels, everyone now knows that you can get "up"(no pun intended) for an event with products other than steroids.

Now, the real issue is drugs: ADHD drugs, Epogen and Testosterone patches. ADHD drugs give you better concentration, Epo gives you more oxygen in your blood, Testosterone aids the body's recovery time. All help you excel in (among other things) sports. All are on the black market (try your local college). All are readily accessible (Floyd can hook you up).
The golf Tours know there are problems. Trust me, someone knows something that could break the camels back. Why else the call for testing this year?
The reason that golf has been under the radar is because of media's (thus Joe Public's) focus on the wrong "performance therapies".
I'm reminded of a prescient quote by Thomas A Edison: "If there's a way to do it better...find it."
Unfortunately for golf, we're about to find it.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,


Anonymous said...

Interesting take, a couple of points... Steroids are real drugs, the type has varied from what most people were used to hearing years ago, as have the side effects profile. Among other things, they can allow one to train more, recover faster and repair muscles faster. Your point about other performance enhancing drugs is also valid. One needs to ask "what enhances performance for golf?" (think slice no more wrist brace?)It gets a bit complicated, for example would a beta blocker "enhance" perfomance? What if you need to take somethig for a real medical condition (e.g., high blood bressure)? Once you start this drug analysis, is there a way to go back? In this case, if someone is smoking pot, drinking alcohol before playing, or doing speed, do you care (or better question is do they enhance golf performance)? Do these substances really change teh outcomes of golf tourney's via enhanced performance? Is golf just the latest institution to buy into (or cave into) the pressure from a conservative administration's drug policy that to my mind makes very little sense? Not to put too fine a point on things, but we've discovered many things that improve lives of many people (e.g. pharmaceuticals). Would you deny that one should one use any of them to their maximal individual advantage to improved your life however you define that? Where does a sports governing body's right to interfere with its participants lives end? Or broader yet, where does a governments rigth to interfere with individual lived end? I think that your point is correct that this is the tip of the iceberg, but where is the bottom is what I would like to know before entering into the morass of guilty until proven innocent. Next time I enter an amature event will I have to pee to play golf? Blissful ignorance is sometimes a nice and calm place.... if one thinks that they will have a better life by taking something to play better, golf who cares? People do stupid things every day. Just my two cents... keep up the good topics. KG

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