The PGA Tour will now use blood testing in accordance with WADA's code and will also report on recreational drug use
Rory McIlroy Backs New PGA Tour Doping Regulations
Rory McIlroy has be quoted as supporting the PGA Tour’s drug-testing reforms that will introduce blood screening and match the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances.
McIlroy has been a strong advocate of tougher drug screening in golf, especially with it now being an Olympic sport.
“If we’re not blood testing we’re not doing all we can to make sure that golf is a clean sport, so I obviously welcome the news,” McIlroy told the Daily Telegraph.
“If golf wants to be a sport in the Olympics, it needs to get on board with everything that all the other sports do as well.
“I really don’t think anyone should be fearful as I don’t think that golf has any sort of drug problem at all. You have to be so careful about what you take, but that’s part and parcel about being an athlete.”
McIlroy’s comments follows the PGA Tour announcing that it will align its anti-doping strategy with WADA’s (World Anti-Doping Agency), to be introduced for the 2017/18 season.
It will bring in blood testing from next season and also replicate WADA’s list of prohibited substances.
Golf’s most lucrative Tour brought in its own anti-doping programme in 2008, which was put together with consultation from both WADA and US Anti-Doping.
Its prohibited list of substances is different to WADA’s in three separate categories to do with asthma medications, allergy and anti-inflamatory medications.
The Tour currently tests for drug use through urine tests, which it will continue doing.
Commissioner Jay Monahan said the changes would “better substantiate the integrity of golf as a clean sport”.
As well as the introduction of blood tests and its updated substance list, the PGA Tour, which is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, will now also report on players’ recreational drug use.
Currently it only reports on drug use relate to performance-enhancing substances, whilst recreational drug use from players is kept quiet by the Tour.
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This will mean that speculation will end when a player takes a prolonged period away from the Tour.
In 2014, Dustin Johnson took an extended absence from the PGA Tour for personal reasons, after it was alleged that he had tested positive for recreational drugs. This was never officially confirmed or reported by the Tour.
Interestingly, golf carried out the fewest drugs test – 417 – in 2015 of all the summer Olympic sports, according to figures from WADA.
The International Olympic Committee last year suggested the Tour replicated WADA’s policy before the Olympic Games in Rio where golfers underwent blood tests.
These changes will all come into effect in October when the 2017/18 PGA Tour season gets underway in early October at the Safeway Open in Napa, California.