One of the last holdovers among major sports leagues, the PGA Tour is finally making an attempt to get in more with the times when it comes to anti-doping measures.
Perhaps a result of golf’s successful reintroduction as an Olympic sport, the Tour announced on Tuesday that they will begin blood testing their athletes.
Part of a new policy that will go into place for the 2017-18 PGA season, which begins with the fall series in October, the new measures are aimed at detecting certain performance-enhancing drugs that are not able to be uncovered through urine testing.
In addition, the PGA is abrogating its current policy of keeping drug offenses, both PED and recreational drugs, confidential, also effective beginning next season.
- PED Testing: The PGA will introduce blood testing, effective for the 2017-18 Tour season. The PGA currently conducts frequent urine testing for drug detection, but that testing is not always reliable, and certain PEDS, most notably human growth hormone (HGH), can only be detected through blood testing. Urine testing will continue to be their predominant method.
- WADA List: The PGA’s list of banned substances will be updated to include all substances that are currently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Tour will continue to implement its Therapeutic Use Exemption, to protect those who need to use a banned substance for legitimate medical reasons.
- Public Reports: Currently, all recreational drug suspensions are kept confidential, but that too, will change starting next season. All suspensions related to drugs, whether they are for PEDs or recreational drugs, will be publicly reported. Statements will be released which report the name of the offender, the detected drug, and the length of the suspension.
“While we are extremely pleased with the implementation and results of the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Program to date, we believe that these changes to our changes are prudent in that they further our objectives of protecting the well-being of our members and better substantiate the integrity of golf as a clean sport.”
-PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan