For quite some time, the use of drugs by PGA Tour players has been a big issue and somewhat widespread, with other players wanting the issue swept under the rug. Those days are now gone, as the PGA Tour will be making a huge change to their rules for next season.
Although the predominant method of testing will still be urine samples, the PGA Tour will add blood testing for the 2017-18 season. This method of testing will allow for HGH (human growth hormone) to be detected. Also previously, suspensions were only reported publicly if it was a PED (performance enhancing drug), now they will publicly report any drug suspensions (i.e. cocaine use, illegal pill use, marijuana, etc).
These new policies are the same in which Olympic athletes go through in terms of testing and the channels of publicly announcing infractions of the said policy. Anti-doping organization practices and guidelines were used to create these new rules and procedures.
This is good news for golf, although some in the golf community may not feel so. Earlier this year, Golf.com had a survey where 84% of golfers said they were not concerned with their peers taking PED’s. Only 34% felt there should be blood testing, and 40% felt the failed tests should be released publicly.
This would lead one to believe there is a good handful of players that do in fact take PED’s and HGH. Why would such a low percentage want blood testing, yet such a high percentage being unconcerned about the issue. It would lead me to believe they would have to stop taking PED’s.
United States Anti Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart, pointed out the flaws in the PGA Tour’s drug policy last year.
“The [Tour’s] own anti-drug policy admits that HGH can enhance performance,” Tygart said. “If it does all that good, and there’s no way to get caught using it, call me crazy, but logic tells me that unless these athletes don’t want to win, it’s a hard sell not to do it.”
Tygart’s comments make a lot of sense. With golfers not technically getting tested, it allowed for a grey area in which the players on tour could use HGH, get away with it, and morally feel fine about it. Those days are now over, and players better be careful in a hurry, otherwise we will start seeing a lot more suspensions rolling in, and the public will know everything.