Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Would the Tour have Tiger's back if he tested positive?

Doug Barron, a fringe PGA Tour golfer, is the only one to run afoul of the PGA Tour's drug testing program. Barron lost a motion that would have allowed him to compete in Qualifying School with the hopes of earning his PGA Tour card.

Barron had a reason for failing the drug test and had alerted the PGA Tour earlier about various medications his doctor had prescribed. The PGA Tour denied his therapeutic use exemption and told him to get off the drugs. By not following the Tour's advice earlier, Barron paid the ultimate price.

With only one golfer ensnared by the drug program, would the PGA Tour suspend Tiger Woods if he tested positive for a banned substance? Magic 8 ball says, "Not looking likely."

It's a classic example of where doing the right thing, financially cripples the organization. Could the PGA Tour afford to suspend Tiger for a year? The LPGA has lost events for the past two years. The statistics show that ratings and attendance are up when Tiger is playing. With that in mind, the Tour knows who butters their bread and would be hard pressed to do the right thing if a sample came back positive.

Who knows, maybe Tiger, like Jordan before him, will decide to pick up a new sport while at the peak of his career. Conspiracy theorists would have a field day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why A-rod will never be Sportsman of the Year

Derek Jeter was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated earlier this week. That’s not all that surprising given Jeter being a class act. He’s the captain of his team, been with the same team since he started his career and comes through in the clutch.

The same cannot be said for his teammate, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod admitted before the season that he used PED’s earlier in his career. After returning from an injury, A-Rod performed at a high level. It appeared that admitting his drug use, freed him from his performance anxiety he suffered from earlier in his Yankee tenure.

Jeter does things the right way while A-Rod is more concerned with how his behavior will be perceived by the media. During an All-Star Game, Jeter cheered on his teammates until the end of the game while A-Rod checked out early to host a party. Further proof that A-Rod will never be a Sportsman of the Year, but A-Rod thinks the media is out to get him.

Reports of jealousy between A-Rod and Jeter have been circulating for years. A-Rod must deal with the perception, real or imagined that for all his missteps, Jeter handled himself with class and dignity. There could have been an infomercial on when certain situations arise; this is how not to behave (A-Rod) contrasted with the appropriate behavior (Jeter).

Sports Illustrated should be commended for making the right choice in honoring Derek Jeter with the award. Meanwhile, it’s just another stab that will upset A-Rod. He might be the highest paid player in baseball, but he has a lot to learn from the captain of his team.