One of the sad realities of sports in the modern age is drug usage, not necessarily to heal the body as intended, but rather to give athletes an artificial competitive advantage.
Most of the major professional and college sports require regular drug testing and nobody has a more stringent policy of testing and punishing offenders than the International Olympic Committee.
It would only be logical that the PGA Tour also have a drug testing policy in place, although very few people seem to know or care that its there.
Our question this month revolves around the PGA Tour’s drug testing policy.
Is it creditable and fair? The answers are yes and yes. Creditable because there is a policy in place that affects allthose of participate in PGA Tour events and fair for the same reason.
Now, is it effective? Ah, there’s the real question. Are violators all treated equally in terms of punishment or are the stars given special treatment while the ordinary players get hammered?
We don’t know because unlike other professional sports, golf does not publicize any suspensions or fines.
When Dustin Johnson took a six month hiatus from the game last year the official word was that it was for personal reasons, but the rumor mill strongly suggested that the tour suspended Johnson for testing positively for excessive and regular cocaine usage.
None of that was ever confirmed.
One of the biggest differences between pro golfers and those in team sports is that the golfers are independent contractors, so from a legal standpoint it becomes very tricky for the tour to disclose private information.
The fact that the PGA Tour does have a policy for testing in place is a testimony to the integrity of the players themselves. They had to agree to it and they have. They just don’t want it to occur during a tournament, where a needle in the wrong place (blood testing) can affect their swing. Right now that’s down the road, but it appears to be coming. In fact it will be here and soon, but not necessarily for the tour.
That golf is becoming an Olympic Sport shortly has really changed the face of the game regarding testing.
According to an article in “Golfweek Magazine”,the International Golf Federation’s Anti-Doping Policy will take effect 0n May 6, 2016, for 13 weeks as part of the qualification process for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Both male and female golfers will be subject to testing that strictly follows the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances and testing procedures.
The tour already tests weekly for most of the same banned substances on WADA’s list.
The PGA Tour began its testing in 2008, where players are required to provide a urine sample for testing.
Many players are looking forward to playing in the Olympics, but it’ll be interesting to see how many mysteriously back out?
One key difference between PGA Tour and IGF testing is the reporting requirement. With the IGF, any violation will result in a public outing of the violators, the substance abused and the length of the punishment.
There is no way those sponsors, who support professional golfers, will want their brands associated with drug offenders.
The PGA Tour still does not conduct blood testing, but that won’t be the case for those who want to participate in the Olympics and it is generally agreed that blood testing is coming to professional golf and probably sooner than later.
Right now the testing policy is rather loose, but it is their policy.
Tim Geary is a R.I. based freelance writer. He takes plenty of drugs, but none seem toWHAT'S YOUR REACTION?