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Golf Tidbits: Should we believe Finchem?

Kevin Currie, Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met the media on Wednesday at Congressional Country Club, site of this week's AT&T National, and discussed many subjects.

The biggest topic was drug testing. Finchem announced that one year into testing, the PGA Tour is clean.

"The players took it very seriously. They got educated," Finchem stated. "We've had over 1,000 tests in the last year. The testing processes worked extremely well. The players have cooperated."

Though who gets tested is anonymous unless a player talks about it, one could gather that every PGA Tour player has been tested. If you combine the 2008 and 2009 money lists, there are over 500 names but many are duplicates.

The drug tests screen for a variety of drugs, but suspensions would only have been handed down for performance-enhancing drugs. A failed test for a recreational drug such as cocaine or marijuana would not result in a suspension.

"I said we have had no positive tests with respect to performance-enhancing," Finchem said. "We may have had some test results that trouble us in other areas that we treat in a different bucket. But we don't publicize those. We treat those as 'conduct unbecoming.' I'm not saying this has happened or not."

Should we believe Finchem that the tour is clean? I think you can read between the lines of Finchem's quote and know that the answer is no, the tour isn't clean.

Obviously, as he states, there were no failed tests for PED's. But the gray area for the tour, the players and the media alike is those who may have failed tests for recreational drugs. It is easy to see why those names and results would not be published.

If someone were to fail a test, that person obviously used illegal drugs. Charges could be filed, though just as it is with any member of the public, authorities would have a tough time charging said player though as it would be tough to prove in which jurisdiction the person may have taken or possessed the drugs.

Finchem said the testing process has gone from random to selective. If a player hadn't been chosen randomly, the tour would then choose that player for testing. Under the current system, the tour has shifted to regular testing.

"We have reason to believe that a player may be using an illegal substance or may have a substance problem and he's in a program and we want to test him, we just test him on a regular basis," said Finchem.

"You've got to play by the rules."

Whether players are truly playing by those rules is open to your own interpretation of Finchem's comments.

BOOM OR BUST FOR GLOVER?

Lucas Glover followed his first major championship win with a share of 11th place last week at the Travelers Championship. It's hard to say based on that result whether the U.S. Open victory launched Glover's career, or launched a drought.

Since Tiger Woods burst onto the scene at the 1997 Masters, there have been seven multiple major winners and 19 others that have won a single major title. Three of those 19 had won major titles before Woods turned professional.

Some of those 19 winners have seen their careers go into a tailspin after their major championship victory. David Duval's plummet in the world rankings is well documented, though part of that was injury-related.

Since 2002, three major winners have not won another event, four if you include Glover, who is playing this week for the second time since winning the U.S. Open.

Rich Beem (2002 PGA Championship), Shaun Micheel (2003 PGA Championship) and Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters) are winless since claiming those major victories.

Glover, like Immelman, is young and is still gathering experience. But neither would he fall into the flash-in-the-pan category, as the win was his second on the PGA Tour and he has also played on a Presidents Cup team.

It is too early to tell which direction Glover's career will go, but there are indications based on a solid follow-up performance that his first major championship win could be the first of many.

MINI-TIDBITS

- There are more financial woes on the horizon for the LPGA Tour. This week's 25th Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic may be the last and the organizers of the two-year-old Kapalua LPGA Classic have pulled out of their contract with financial problems.

- No surprise that Tiger Woods topped the list of highest-earning American athletes with nearly $100 million earned last year. Phil Mickelson at No. 2 is a mild surprise, and Jim Furyk's name also made the top 50 at the No. 41 spot.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Kevin Currie at kcurrie@sportsnetwork.com.

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