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Players riled up about Player

July 20, 2007|Chuck Culpepper | Special to The Times

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND — Gary Player's claims about performance-enhancing drugs in golf proved so potent that they cured Retief Goosen's demureness.

"I'm actually very shocked at his comments, really, to be honest," Goosen said Thursday, adding, "I don't know if he was trying to damage the sport, damage golf. I don't know what he was trying to do."

Fielding a news conference question about drug-testing on Wednesday, Player had said, "Whether it's HGH, whether it's Creatine or whether it's steroids, I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it."

He knows, Player said, "Because one guy told me."

The 71-year-old winner of nine major championships told of repeated visits to doctors who told him HGH (human growth hormone) could help make him "more supple." He guessed the number of golf cheaters at 10.

"Definitely not going to be lower," he said, "but might be a hell of a lot higher."

Player's comments loosed a media squall in Britain and irked some players, including Goosen, 38, a fellow South African, who said, "I don't know what Gary was trying to prove, saying what he said.

"He mustn't come and say, 'I know of 10 guys taking drugs,' and he can't say what it is. So he might as well have not said anything."

Several players echoed Goosen's opinion that Player shouldn't have made suspects of everybody but some offered no criticism.

"Here's a guy that has built his body and prided himself on working out and conditioning himself, and I'm sure it kills him to see somebody else that is cheating, to do it that way, the way they're doing it compared with the way he's done it," Steve Stricker said.

"For Gary Player to say it," Ernie Els said, "then obviously he knows something."

Players from Els to Tiger Woods to Paul McGinley, who sits on a European Tour committee, advocated random drug testing, even as most deemed the game clean and Els reported that he takes Advil and "Guinness."

The PGA is exploring testing with golf's other American bodies, while McGinley said of the European Tour, "I think it will happen in a matter of time."

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