It’s in the culture in golf to penalize oneself for committing rules infractions no one else sees.That has extended itself to the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy.
Canadian player Brad Fritsch, who has been up and down between the Tour and the Web.com Tour since turning professional in 2000, became the fifth player to be suspended by the Tour when he admitted he was taking a dietary supplement that contained DHEA, which is on the list of banned substances.
When Fritsch realized it, he texted Andy Levinson of the Tour, who heads the anti-doping program, and turned himself in. He will be suspended for three months because the Tour considers an admission the same as a failed drug test — which has never happened to Fritsch.
The suspension is retroactive to Nov. 30, when he reported himself to Levinson, which means Fritsch is eligible again on March 2.
One other Tour player who was suspended for taking a banned substance, Scott Stallings, also turned himself in.
Fritsch wrote a Facebook post taking full blame for not checking the supplement against the Tour’s banned list — which mirrors the World Anti-Doping Association.
“I’m embarrassed that I didn’t pay attention to the details,” Fritsch wrote.
Fritsch also stated on Facebook that he believes the Tour should publish the name of every offender of the anti-doping policy and praised Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Levinson “for bringing this to a speedy resolution.”
Tour charity record
The PGA Tour generated more than $180 million for charity in 2017 through its six professional tours, beating the previous year’s record by $14 million.
The total amount raised for charity since 1933 is now $2.65 billion. The Tour passed $1 billion in 2005, and needed only nine years to raise its second billion by 2014.
The amount included a record $8.7 million raised through the Tour’s flagship event, The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Five Tour events raised $10 million or more, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the Valero Texas Open, the Dean and Deluca Invitational, the John Deere Classic and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. The Presidents Cup, played every two years, raised $10.7 million.
The total included money raised on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, the Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour-China.
Horschel, Players assist
Feeding Northeast Florida
Four-time PGA Tour winner Billy Horschel and staff from The Players Championship will participate in a food distribution to the community from Feeding Northeast Florida, which services eight counties.
Horschel, Players executive director Jared Rice and tournament chairman Damon Olinto will be at the Feeding Northeast Florida warehouse on Jan. 16. A grant to the organization from The Players also will be announced
Feeding Northeast Florida works with area grocery stores and farms to obtain food that ordinarily would be wasted.
Koepka to undergo tests
U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka will undergo tests on his left wrist, which has been hurting since he played in the Hero World Challenge last month.
Koepka played all four rounds of last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions but finished last among the 34 players in the field, shooting 74 or higher in each round. He was six shots behind the next nearest player and 39 shots behind winner Dustin Johnson.
Koepka wasn’t scheduled to play again until the Tour’s stop in Phoenix.
THIS WEEK ON TOUR
Event: Sony Open, Thursday-Sunday, Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii.
At stake: $6.2 million purse ($1,116,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to winner)
Defending champion: Justin Thomas
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Saturda, 7-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 6-10 p.m.)
Area players entered: Blayne Barber, Jonas Blixt, Jonathan Byrd, Roberto Diaz, Harris English, Matt Every, Brian Harman, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Sam Saunders, Vijay Singh, Hudson Swafford, Steve Wheatcroft
Notable: Thomas shot 59 in the first round and went on to post a record 27-under-par 253 to beat Justin Rose by seven shots. … In addition to Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Si Woo Kim, Daniel Berger and Jason Dufner are playing. … Sony is the fourth-oldest title sponsor for a Tour event and Waialae is the third-oldest Tour venue.
Event: Great Exuma Classic, Saturday-Jan. 16, Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course, Great Exuma, Bahamas
At stake: $600,000 purse ($108,000 to the winner)
Defending champion: Kyle Thompson
TV: Golf Channel (Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Jan. 14, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Jan. 15, 2-5 p.m.; Jan. 16, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m.)
Area players entered: Chris Baker, Vince Covello, Luke Guthrie, Frank Lickliter, Tim Wilkinson
Notable: Thompson shot 76 in the first round, then won at 2-under 286 with three consecutive 70s. … High wind plagued the tournament all week and only two other players matched par, Andrew Yun and Nicholas Thompson, who tied for second at even-par 288. … Also in the field are 2003 PGA champion Shaun Micheel and PGA Tour veterans Ken Duke, Dicky Pride and Tag Ridings. … The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for the Great Abaco Classic Jan. 21-24.