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Drug testing begins on the links

DIVOTS --

July 06, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

There was more than golf going on this week at the AT&T National, the tournament hosted by Tiger Woods at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

For the first time, the PGA Tour joined other professional sports organizations with drug testing when the players converged on Bethesda early in the week.

Robert Allenby told The Associated Press, "Because of baseball and a lot of other sports, they really pushed it toward us because of all their mistakes. Hopefully, we can show how clean our sport is."

The PGA won't say who it started off with when the testing began, but whenever pro Olin Browne has his name called, don't think for a minute he will be too happy about it.

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"I hate it. I hate it. I hate everything about it," Browne told the AP. "It's contradictory to the ethics of our game."

Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the PGA might disclose how many players were tested at the end of the year. There are sanctions in place for violations.

Drug testing also began on the European Tour this week while the British Open will not test until next year. The LPGA is already in a testing program.

White House bash

After Friday's second round of the AT&T, The Associated Press reported 14 PGA players had received an invitation to the White House to help celebrate the Fourth of July and today's birthday of President Bush.

Steve Stricker wondered how he got on the list. It's most likely because he is tour's highest money winner in the field.

Those invited included former University of Maryland golf coach Fred Funk, Davis Love III, Billy Andrade, Fred Couples, Rocco Mediate, Jonathan Byrd, Mike Weir, Brandy Snedeker, Lucas Glover, Ben Crane, Jim Furyk, Corey Pavin and Johnson Wagner.

I recently spoke with Funk and will have a story later this week on his memories of winning the 1987 Maryland Open at Fountain Head Country Club. The Open returns to FHCC July 14-16.

Team competition

The Washington Metro Golf Association Team Championships begins Saturday and Beaver Creek Country Club is one of 40 clubs in the event.

Beaver Creek is in Division 10 along with Columbia, Lakewood and Holly Hills. The locals open Saturday with a home-away match against Lakewood and follow with a matchup the next day against Columbia. Divisional play concludes July 19 against Holly Hills. After the divisional results are final, play continues July 20 with the Division 10 winner going against the Division 8 survivor from Woodmore, Hawthorne, Old South or Manor. The finals are set for Aug. 2.

Beaver Creek team members include pro Dirk Schultz, Brian Crabtree, Steve Ligi, Tim Steiner, Pat Steiner, Tim Doreen, Bernie Deane, Tracy Piper, Scott Alexander, Jason Ferguson, Dave Bingaman and Randy Cree. Alternates are Chris Mullen and Carl Spessard.

She gave it a go

I've said it before and recently wrote about similar comments from LPGA star Betsy King.

The LPGA Tour sorely needs to have a female version of Tiger Woods who is an American-born and -bred player.

At the Women's U.S. Open last week, 23 Asians were in the top 60 with the win going to Inbee Park.

Only two players -- Paula Creamer and Stacy Lewis -- gave any hope of a U.S. player winning and both of them fell by the wayside on the final day.

And it's not like we even knew anything about Lewis, who was making her very first appearance as a professional.

Who is Lewis? She's a 23-year-old from Woodlands, Texas, who turned pro on June 9 and won the Open qualifier that day by four shots. She won the NCAA Division I tournament in 2007 and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a degree in finance and accounting. She had a 5-0 record in helping the United States to a 13-7 win over Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup at St. Andrews last month.

That's who she is and now we'll see if she can climb the ladder.

Terrapin outing

There is still time and room to play in the Cumberland Valley Terrapin Club feast on July 23 at Beaver Creek Country Club. It's a 1 p.m. shotgun start in a four-man scramble format. Cost is $100 per player and includes crab feed and buffet, beverages and prizes. For information, contact John Hersh at 301-791-7887 or Jeff Renner at 717-294-6252.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024, or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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