Drug testing has arrived at the Open Championship for the first time this year, in keeping with policy on the US and European Tours, and Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, says he is going to put himself through the Open’s drug-testing procedure tomorrow morning. Admirably, Dawson wants to experience the procedure first hand.
Dawson is an able, eloquent and widely respected figure in golf, and clearly there is no doubt what the results of the test will be – for both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs – or is there? You never know. Can the upstanding boss of the R&A vouch, with absolute certainty, for all the ingredients of the afternoon cake selection in the Turnberry clubhouse, or in the R&A Pavilion? Who is to say that a delicate little rogue pastry fancy, sitting invitingly on a doily, won’t catch his eye?
Earlier in the season Henrik Stenson spoke on how drug-testing was working out on Tour.
“The only thing that seems a bit weird is that a lot of guys have been called in and have struggled to produce a urine sample,” said Stenson, “so they drink a lot of water, but then the test is diluted and won’t work. In Phoenix at the Match Play, Martin Kaymer was still there four hours later. That could obviously be a big hassle for a golfer, if you want to leave a test but you get held back, no matter what your schedule. I am sure you would be happy to stand there trying to get some pee out, when you have finished with a 78, in a tie for 69th and your flight is leaving.
“Drug testing is very important, although I don’t think there are too many things in golf that can enhance your performance. Does Viagra keep you long and straight? I don’t know.”
Let’s hope Mr Dawson can execute as required tomorrow morning and does not get delayed. He’s got a tournament to run.