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Golfers to face random drug testing

The world’s leading golfers are facing drugs tests for the first time following the introduction of new rules by the sport’s ruling body.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is working on new drugs regulations after golf’s acceptance as an official Olympic sport and claims that leading professionals have taken beta blockers to boost their game.

The new World Anti-Doping Agency, set up by the International Olympic Committee after a series of drugs scandals, intends to start carrying out random drug testing at some international competitions from next year.

The controversy over drugs in golf was fuelled last week by claims from Australian professional Craig Parry that their use was widespread at the highest levels of the game and that three past winners of the sport’s ‘majors’ in the last decade had used beta blockers.

Beta blockers are a class of drugs prescribed by doctors to block the action of adrenaline, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. They could therefore help to smooth out a golfer’s putting stroke and have a calming effect during high-pressure competition.

Peter Dawson, the Royal and Ancient’s secretary, said: "The R&A are having a close look at the situation at the moment to see if we do need to introduce this into golf and for which substances ."

Parry’s call for the introduction of an internationally-recognised drugs code was backed by David Collins, the professor of sports medicine at Edinburgh University.

He said: "Any sport that does not have a drugs code in this day and age is missing a trick. "



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