Golf Forced to Seek Credibility of Anti-Doping World

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The PGA Tour, the organization that runs the men’s professional golf tournaments in North America, is being forced to adopt the anti-doping protocols of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told the New York Daily News that they are already performing several anti-doping tests that are pointless when it comes to professional golf performance. After all, only one professional golfer in the history of the PGA Tour has been banned for a doping violation.

Nonetheless, Finchem acknowledges that the PGA Tour is being forced to implement WADA-type testing just so that the PGA Tour anti-doping program has the “credibility” of the anti-doping world. Finchem was still somewhat critical of the reliability of testing (e.g. human growth hormone testing) and the necessity of specific anti-doping tests with respect to professional golf.

“I think that the big question about HGH is reliable testing. That’s the challenge with all sports. That’s the first question. And then the second question is if there is reliable testing available and it’s only blood, do we want to go to blood, which is another step. And as part of that review, you would want to think about whether HGH makes a difference in this game. We’re testing for a lot of stuff right now that candidly doesn’t make a difference but we do it so that our program has credibility in the anti-doping world, and that’s just part of being part of the anti-doping, which we feel we are very much part of the anti-doping movement today. So I don’t know.”

Gaining the “credibility in the anti-doping” may mean adopting human growth hormone (hGH) testing. The possibility of golfers using hGH was discussed by sports commentators when Anthony Galea was indicted on human growth hormone smuggling charges. Galea is a personal physician who has treated Tiger Woods.

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