By Robert Bicknell

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July 29, 2007

Money, Drugs and Golf…

Dean Cashion "skyped" me the other day about the (Viet Nam Section of the Society of Petroleum Engineers) SPE Charity Golf & Tennis Charity Tournament which will be held in Vung Tau from 9 – 11 November 2007.

Dean’s company, Igeasia, is the event co-ordinator and has been earning kudo’s for their professionalism in helping to put the pieces together.

Last year’s event was a great success with over $90,000.00 raised for the SPE Scholarship Fund and The 15th of May School in HCM City. 

This year, they are aiming for over $100,000, which will go to three very worthy charities: Loreto Children’s Foundation, which helps street children; Children’s Hospital #1 in District 10 which provides open heart surgeries for children born with congenital heart defects; and the third will be a worthy charity in Vung Tau which has yet to be selected.

Curiously enough, I also got an e-mail from the Swing For Life tournament committee for his year’s event on National Day, which invited me to participate. Of course, I couldn’t say no...not to SFL...not ever.

All this got me thinking, (which, admittedly, is dangerous for a person in my mental condition) about the amazing amount of charity money being raised by golf events in Vietnam.

While the SPE event "technically" raised more money than SFL, it is a two-day multi-format event compared to SFL’s one-day golf only tournament, but that is not to belittle SPE’s achievement in any way at all. In fact, they should be commended for coming up with such an innovative format which combines both golf & tennis and doing it in a professional and highly successful manner.

Some people ask, "with all the clubs in Vietnam vying for business, is there a role to be played by independent companies such as Ideasia?"


Golf directors and their staff are overwhelmed with daily operations and their own club-sponsored events, so any professional outside help, both in booking and co-ordination is a blessing.

On another note, completely unrelated…

Last week, Gary Player claimed he knows some golfers are using performing-enhancing drugs, which didn't sit well with many of the current PGA Tour players and, to be honest, Gary should’ve remembered what happened to John Daly when he made a similar claim a few years ago.

Compared to other professional sports, golf is relatively clean, mostly because golfers’ peak at a point in their lives when most other professional athletes are winding down their careers. They’re not youngsters who don’t know any better.

Secondly, illegal drugs, such as anabolic steroids add bulk which doesn’t benefit a golfer as much as a football player. Sure, Tiger does weight training, but that is strength conditioning, not pure bulk.

That’s not to say there aren’t any products which would help golfers and other athletes deal with increased the physical toll on the human body, but you first have to define what constitutes "performance enhancing drugs" because there are legal supplements which can help quite a bit.

To me, Glucosamine Chondroitin and Cod Liver Oil are "performance enhancing" drugs because they help to limit joint pain as does Voltaren (both pill and gel) which is an "NSAID" (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).

Tiger Woods speculates that alcohol and Medrol packs (also an NSAID) are probably the most used "drugs" on Tour. If you look at the Senior Tour, I’d guess its probably Geritol, prostate medicine and Viagra which fill their medicine cabinets.

Certain health supplement products such as "Adaptogen" claim to help build strength and help the body recover from a workout faster and its supposedly 100% legal.

(The word adaptogen is used by herbalists to refer to a natural herb product that increases the body's resistance to stresses such as trauma, anxiety and bodily fatigue. Knowledge about adaptogens dates back thousands of years to ancient India and China.)

Would that be a benefit to a golfer?

Sure, because more golfers have been hitting the workout trailer more often since Tiger started the trend. The trick is to avoid the normal post workout soreness and remain limber.

If the PGA Tour wants to keep its image pure, testing wouldn’t hurt and I seriously doubt the players would object, although John Daly might set new records...

Too much blood in his alcohol system.

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