More transparency under Monahan would help PGA Tour

Golf fans aren't heading for the gates, but doesn't the paying public want to know if their favorite players are as clean as the PGA Tour says they are? Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire

Jay Monahan's predecessor as commissioner of the PGA Tour, Tim Finchem, was perfectly comfortable with keeping player discipline quiet, operating under the notion that the public at large does not need to be concerned with the pesky little annoyances that might lead to some bad publicity for a high-profile golfer.

Finchem understandably wanted to do all he could to protect and project a clean image that has long been associated with golf. That's all fine and good, except for the part where the tour releases no information about failed drug tests -- unless it is for performance-enhancing substances.

Every major sports league announces when a player fails a drug test, for whatever variety. Just like other athletes, golfers are not perfect, and some have issues. To keep it secret with a fine or suspension that nobody knows about only serves to protect the violator from embarrassment. In the case of a performance-enhancing infraction, typically the player is allowed to appeal, with punishment dished out before anything is announced.

And it makes skeptics out of the overall anti-doping program. There are few who believe that performance-enhancing drugs are prevalent in golf. But if you don't announce failed drug tests for recreational drugs, why should we believe you'll announce them for a failed PED test? And if you suspend a player for any length of time, shouldn't fans be aware of why someone is sitting out?

While Monahan is at it, he ought to go ahead and announce fines for slow play, too. Until the tour gets around to stronger discipline -- such as penalty strokes, which would serve as a far better deterrent -- the only way to call out the slow-pokes is to announce the fines, the amounts and when such infractions occurred.

Each day this week, ESPN.com will drop a few items into the suggestion box for new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who started in his new job on Jan. 1, 2017. Next up: On Wednesday, Jan. 4, Michael Collins writes about how fixing the pending lawsuits against the tour would be a good start for Monahan.