Long-time USGA Technical Director, Inventor of Graphite Shaft Frank Thomas Speaks At Golf Championship

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ORLANDO, FL -- Practice round day is the first day BIG EAST men's golfers have the chance to play the Watson Course at Reunion Golf Club as a team in a formal way.  But the scene on the eve of the first round of the championship was anything but formal.

With a small delay as members played thru on the back nine, the mood was relaxed  there were a chances for players on different teams to catch up as they waited to tee up their practice round.  Following the practice round, all of the student-athletes gathered for a brief social gathering that featured guest speaker Frank Thomas.

Thomas, who for 26 years served as the United States Golf Association's Technical Director, spoke for about 20 minutes to the group about various topics, including his attempt to sail around the world at age 24, how he came to invent the graphite shaft and the genesis of hisnewly created putter certification program.

Perhaps most intriguing, Thomas spoke about his dismay with the USGA in light of its decision to approve testing for performance enhancing drugs.  Following the story about Bobby Jones' self-infraction in the 1925 US Open that cost him the title, he described the game as the only one he knew of that had players that self-ruled -- and because of that, he told those in attendance to be sure to honor the game.  Thomas said he was disappointed that this rule about testing for performance-enhancing drugs was the first that did not enable players to "police themselves."  He said simply, all you should have to do is put the rule in the book.