LOS ANGELES —
What hurts the tour in this case is its longtime lack of transparency.
Finchem has decided that no news is the best news when it comes to player discipline. The tour does not disclose fines or suspensions for conduct. No one can say for certainty that Woods has ever been fined for his course language, or if Mickelson was fined last year for using his cell phone in the middle of a round at the Memorial to complain about too many cell phones in the gallery.
We know John Daly was suspended, but only because he called The Associated Press to refute rumors he had been suspended for life (it was only six months).
Players suspect that at least two of their colleagues have been suspended from testing positive for recreational drugs. If true, the tour won’t say.
Golfers are not choir boys.
Finchem wants to protect the image of golf, which is one reason he refuses to publicize their indiscretions, however large or small. That image is not derived exclusively from clean living, but from the very nature of the sport. It’s a congenial game, and the vast majority of the pros are respectful of the sport and those who play it. That’s why golf has such a good image, and is so appealing to the corporate world.
Under the anti-doping policy, the tour is required to disclose the name, confirm the violation and declare the penalty.
So far, there has been silence.
This is not a call for the tour to rush to judgment. Singh’s case is muddled. Yes, a player who admits to using a banned substance is the same as a player testing positive. But is there evidence that IGF-1 was in the spray that Singh was using? More than one doctor has said it’s impossible for IGF-1 to enter the blood system through a spray. And the tour does not have a blood test, anyway.