An analysis of PGA Tour and FedEx Cup changes for the 2008 season

The rest of the schedule: There was a mini-revolt this year when the new event near Washington, D.C., hosted by Tiger Woods, was made a limited-field invitational. The shrinking schedule meant shrinking playing opportunities. The Tour addressed this problem by adding another opposite-field event to the schedule. The Puerto Rico Open will be played the week of the CA Championship at Doral. Other returning opposite field events are the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico (opposite the Accenture Match Play), the U.S. Bank Championship (opposite the British Open), the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open (opposite the Bridgestone Invitational) and the Viking Classic (opposite the Ryder Cup).

Analysis: The '08 schedule offers 5,672 playing opportunities for members, up from 5,585 in '07. Of course, it's actually fewer than that because five events are held simultaneously and a player can't compete in both. As long as the Tour can keep the lame Fall Series events propped up, there won't be a problem with the rank and file.

Drug testing: Unannounced spot drug testing will begin sometime after July. The list of prohibited substances includes performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and beta blockers, among others. Drugs of abuse such as marijuana, cocaine and assorted narcotics are also on the banned list. The Tour isn't saying what the specific penalties will be, but it has the authority to impose disqualification, a maximum one-year ban for the first violation, a maximum five years for a second, a lifetime ban for multiple violations and fines up to $500,000. The commissioner also has the power to require treatment and rehab instead of other sanctions.

Analysis: Looks like Ricky Williams doesn't have a future on the PGA Tour. Applaud the Tour for having the guts to include marijuana and cocaine in the program. It seems doubtful that many players will fail the test for performance-enhancers, but drugs of abuse are a different story. It'll be interesting to see how fines and penalties are meted out. For instance, if a marquee attraction like Tiger Woods tested positive for steroids, would he draw the same penalty as Tag Ridings? Players who are using a banned substance for an approved medical treatment can apply for a therapeutic-use exemption, but "I can only make putts if I smoke weed, man," doesn't qualify.

But here's the big question: The drug testing doesn't extend to the members of the media who cover golf, does it?

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