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Original Issue

Medal Play

Golf is back in the Olympics. Great! Here are a few thoughts on that—and the LPGA housecleaning

• Golf's drug-testing push finally came up positive. No way the sport would have been considered for the Olympics without the random testing now being done by both major tours.

• According to Masters champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina, there is no golf facility in or near Rio that is capable of holding a world-class event. Recession-idled golf architects everywhere are salivating, but the buzz is that Jack Nicklaus (below) and his firm already have a plan in the works.

• How will the PGA Tour fit the Olympics into its schedule? The 2016 Games are set for Aug. 5--21, and that time frame usually contains the PGA Championship and the start of the FedEx Cup. Things can only be pushed back so far because the Ryder Cup is scheduled to take place in Minnesota that year.

• Golf in the Olympics will be a 72-hole stroke play contest, but it seems to me that a mix of individual and team stroke play would be more compelling, adding the element of group competition that gets players and fans fired up.

• LPGA interim commissioner Marty Evans laid off eight staffers last week. Why? Isn't it the new leader's job to assess the structure, personnel and budgets? This makes me wonder about the cash flow in Daytona. I'm sad and disgusted because the LPGA's level of play has never been better and yet its fortunes are so troubled.

Dottie Pepper is a 17-year LPGA veteran and an on-course analyst for NBC and Golf Channel.

GOLF PLUS will next appear in the Nov. 23 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.