PGA Tour's integrity questioned

"Why don't we talk about it or give out the details? One, we don't feel like people really care that much," Finchem said. "We don't get emails from fans saying, 'Why don't you tell us.' So we don't think there's this hunger for that information. Two, candidly, we don't have that much of it, and we don't want to remind people about it."


So in November, when the HSBC Champions rolls around, and Johnson is a potential no-show because of the alleged suspension, we're all supposed to believe that he simply decided not to play?

It's insulting, and should be to any fan or sponsor who supports the game.

On another occasion, Finchem was asked about recreational drug use by players and its potential problems.

"We don't publicize those," the commissioner said. "We treat those as conduct unbecoming. I'm not saying this has happened or not. I'm just saying what the process is. If we get a test like that, we will consider it conduct unbecoming, and what are our choices? We can suspend a player, we can fine a player, can we do both of those and put a player into treatment. We could also add to that regular testing."

Just not tell anybody -- which might help send a lesson to deter the behavior.

Few care about the little wrist slaps the tour hands out because a player swears or throws a club or misses some function. Well, maybe in the case of Tiger Woods, who has probably provided a decent amount of petty cash for the tour office based on some not-too-subtle outbursts heard on the airwaves.

But anything that has to do with the competition itself should be announced. Instead, here comes a press release about the official mattress of the PGA Tour!

Slow play is not as serious as a drug-related issue, but it is a blight on the game. Players are routinely fined for a series of bad timings. Wouldn't public disclosure -- and perhaps the ridicule that comes with it -- help get players moving faster?

In Johnson's case, if the report is accurate, he had two previous failed drug tests: for marijuana in 2009 and for cocaine in 2012. That suggests some issues for one of the game's top players. In 2012, Johnson missed three months with what was then announced as a back injury. Now it's fair to wonder if he was suspended.

Perhaps he would have gotten the help back then that he announced on Thursday if -- had he been suspended -- fans and sponsors were aware he was forced to take his clubs and go home, not allowed to make a living, maybe having to suffer some criticism.

You think Rice hasn't been shamed by the very public nature of his case with the NFL?

This is the biggest blight on Finchem's otherwise sterling 20-year tenure as the PGA Tour commissioner. His attitude is that what us golf geeks don't know won't hurt us. Friday's late flip-flop on what the tour will and won't say certainly doesn't help matters. It's sloppy.

If the tour had a policy like every other major sports league, there would be no reason to doubt a player who decides to take a leave, or is gone from the game due to injury.

Instead, it forces all of those involved in the process to perpetuate lies. Quiet please. Nothing to see here.

"Tour policy that does not announce when a player has been suspended makes it difficult for that player's agent to maintain his integrity," said veteran PGA Tour player Bob Estes via Twitter on Friday.

The same could be said for the PGA Tour.

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