Sports Illustrated in part with Golf.com released their annual anonymous pro poll, where they ask 50 pros for their unfiltered opinions on dozens of topics. This year in particular there were some juicy questions and even juicier answers.
One in particular was if the PGA Tour should publicize its disciplinary actions against players, in which 56% said no, 40% said yes and 4% answered “don’t know.” Most major sporting organizations give away that type of information freely to the public, where in contrast the PGA Tour disciplines players for recreational drug use and other “conduct unbecoming a professional” in secret. Doping suspensions are the only type of disciplinary action handed down by the Tour that are disclosed to the public at this time.
“No. We have the public’s trust,” one said. “Why mess with that?” One player, who answered no to the question, said it’s up to the Tour “to protect our image,” while another said that information should be released based on the infraction.
It’s a bit ridiculous to think that the organization should protect the players image, especially in the case of taking disciplinary action. If the player has done something that needs to be disciplined, they should be the ones taking responsibility for their wrong-doings, not the Tour. Granted, like the one player said, it could be based on infraction. For example, peeing on the course should be held to a different standard than doping up.
“I was fined $200 for peeing on the golf course once,” said one player. “I mean, what could I do? There weren’t enough port-o-johns!”
While this was one of the more serious questions asked, it was one of the most insightful into the minds of the pros. Pros feel the need to keep up a certain persona for the Tour and expect the Tour in part to keep quiet if something goes amiss, which is understandable considering its history. They basically covered up Dustin Johnson’s failed drug tests by sweeping it under the rug and keeping quiet, when it would have been a serious matter in most any other sport. Now he’s No. 1 in the World. Would he have shaped up if the Tour had cut him out the moment he failed his first drug test? Who knows.
Other questions included in the survey:
Have you ever been fined or disciplined by the PGA Tour?
Are you concerned that players are taking PEDs that are undetectable through a urine test?
Should the PGA Tour conduct blood testing?
Don’t care/no comment: 8%
Should the PGA Tour break from the USGA and play by its own rules?
No comment: 4%
Should the USGA and the PGA of America move their events from Donald Trump-owned courses?
Don’t care/no comment: 8%
Does Jason Day play too slowly?
Don’t know/no comment: 32%
Summary: Pros don’t care whether or not you voted for Trump, if he has the best golf course then that’s the venue that should be used. Basically half of the pros know that Jason Day plays too slowly. Pros aren’t concerned with drug testing, probably because the PGA Tour is so lax about it in the first place, and if they could break away from the USGA they would. Maybe the new rules of golf being implemented will change their minds.