Steroids In Golf?

SI.Com columnist EM Swift says that golf should stop kidding itself and start testing for performance enhancing. He speculates that they’re already thoroughly embedded on the PGA and LPGA Tours:

On the LPGA Tour I’ve seen enough visual evidence of steroid use—acne, dramatic changes in musculature, increased distance off the tee—to raise my suspicions. Likewise on the PGA Tour, where rumors about the use of beta blockers and benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium, which are taken to control anxiety and steady the nerves, have swirled about for years.

Hmm. I’ve got a few random thoughts on this one:

Does that mean that Tiger is the prime suspect for steroid use? If there is any golfer who has had a change in body type, it’s the Striped One. He was a skinny youngster who now looks like a body builder. Just like Barry Bonds. (or maybe, it’s just that he’s matured and is now lifting weights).

Wait. There’s one other body change suspect. David Duvall was shaped like a penguin, became number one in the world, got a sculpted body, fell off the planet and now—making a comeback—is shaped like a penguin again. If he was taking drugs, they certainly weren’t performance enhancing.

The Stadlers are NOT using steroids. We can safely say that about a LOT of guys on Tour. And not just the fat ones. I don’t think Carmello is using them either—unless he’s using ones that take the weight OFF.

Anger issues also are supposed to be a sign of steroid use. I suppose that Tommy Bolt was taking them back in the 1950s. Anyone who doesn’t occasionally have anger issues on the course has never played golf.

The acne problem on the LPGA is probably due to the fact that so many of their players are teenagers. Or that the new imperative to wear more makeup has them clogging their pores when that stuff dissolves and melts in the sweat of 90 degree heat (Mrs. GolfBlogger confirms this as a surefire way to ruin your complexion).

I can’t imagine how steroids could help you play golf. Strength doesn’t equate to higher swing speed. And no steroid is going to help you sink a 15 foot putt. I’m a strong guy—stonger for my size than most—but it doesn’t help me hit the ball 300 yards (I can’t). It MIGHT help me dig it out of the rough—a place where I spend far too much time. (Strength, however, does help me humiliate the football players in my classes when I beat them arm wrestling. It sort of solidifies my position in the room as the Alpha Male.)

And as for the nerve-controlling drugs, I suppose that there are some out there that take them. I have a hard time, however, trying to figure out how this is different from the players who smoke or drink alcohol. If they are obtaining them illegally, that’s one thing … but if they have a prescription.

Beta blockers are used by 27 percent of symphony orchestra musicians. I think we should be testing them, too. A violinist on beta blockers may be illegally and immorally holding the first chair from a violinist not on beta blockers.

Male porn stars need to be tested for Viagra. We wouldn’t want one to have an advantage over another. Ditto female porn stars with silicon implants. Implants have, after all, been shown to be bad for you; and Viagra has side effects.

As a guy with libertarian sympathies, I don’t really have a problem with athletes using performance enhancing drugs. They are trading money for life expectancy and health and they are fully cognizant of the effects. The most dangerous job in the US is deep sea fisherman. The fishermen know this and are willing to trade life expectancy and health for the pay. Ditto miners, taxi drivers, convenience store clerks and other dangerous positions.



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11 thoughts on “Steroids In Golf?”

  1. Hey the chief ‘roids suspect is Annika…developing acne in conjunction with her Colonial preparation is tough to rationalize.

  2. If your libertarianism allows for the use of steriods golf, does it also allow for cheating in terms of your score?  Can you explain any difference between the two to me and if you are against cheating in golf?

  3. Mark—I obviously don’t believe in cheating on the score. That woudl be against the rules of golf—the rules by which the players agree to abide when entering into a match. To my knowledge, though, there is nothing in the USGA rules of golf that ban taking steroids. And the PGA Tour has yet to address the issue.

    So I do see a difference.

  4. You did say above, however, that you didn’t have a problem with athletes using performance enhancing drugs.  Other sports have already ruled against their use, that is why I asked.  To me, it isn’t fair to the person who has trained and trained without the help of drugs, to just allow someone to use them because they have a right to do so even if they are harming themselves. Wouldn’t libertariansm (I’m not that well versed) be against this because it could harm (or wouldn’t be fair to) those athletes that didn’t use drugs and therefore aren’t big, fast, strong enough?.  Making the use of these drugs illegal in all sports is the only way we can try to level the playing field as good as we can in all sports, right?

  5. What on earth you would need a performance enhancing drug in golf? I have no information about a drug that could make you swing that club better that you normally do. You know what, they say, it’s all in the wrist

  6. From all the sports I’ve heard of, golf is the one I consider the least sollicitating. So, I don’t know what steroids would have to do with that. Nobody thought they just wanted to look good on camera?

  7. I don’t buy that about steriods not helping golfers that much. A few years ago, they had a skills contest with about 9 PGA touring pros (some of the best ones) and Mark McGwire.  Believe it or not, McGwire won the skills event, which included putting, pitching, chipping, long drive, sand shots etc. He embarrassed many PGA pros.  If this was at a time when he was still benefitting from steriods, it could prove that it is not just the power aspect of steriods that gives the advantage, but possibly the coordination aspect as well.  Although there is not substantial proof that McGwire used, the consensus is that he did (did you see his face that day before Congress?) 
    To say that steriods don’t help in golf because power must be coordinated doesn’t hold.  It’s basically that same as those who say its ok for baseball players to use since “you still have to hit the ball, not everyone can do that”.  Maybe it insn’t realized that steroids can improve performance in more than just the power department.  Maybe it can also help in coordination?

  8. Steroids dont make your swing better. What it allows you to do is recover from soreness faster and gives you more endurance. The PGA isnt about who has the better swing, strike, strength and ball controll! Its about walking 3 miles for 4 days in a row, then feeling good enough to be consistent with your natural swing, strike, strength & touch .
    Give Daly a Cart and he’ll be a top ten player~

  9. Don’t kid yourself. I’ve seen firsthand how
    steroids improve a golf game. My ex brother
    in law was prescribed steroids legally to make
    the minimum weight requirement for our local
    police department. In 6 months he went from a
    slender 130 lbs to a stocky 160.

    He was also my golfing partner.During his cycle
    his drives off the tee went from 250 yds to
    350+ when he had the chance to “Grip and Rip”

    Granted,they may not help putting,but it helps
    your game greatly when you can play par 5’s and
    long par 4’s with a driver and a short iron as
    opposed to a driver and a fairway wood/long iron.


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