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Parry raises use of drugs in golf issue

Wayne Grady, chairman of the Australasian PGA Tour, says golf does not need a drug code, disputing comments by fellow pro Craig Parry that one is needed to help curb drug use.

On Thursday, Parry reignited the issue of drugs in the sport, saying that several top players have won important tournaments in recent years while using beta-blockers -- pills that steady the nerves.

Grady, who won the 1990 U.S. PGA Championship, became Australasian PGA chairman two weeks ago when Jack Newton resigned after six years.

"It's not in my area of expertise,'' Grady said today. "But I don't think performance-enhancing drugs would help golfers anyway.''

Grady said he had never been drug-tested in more than 20 years as a professional "and I've never known anyone who has.''

Parry said he knows of three players "who have won majors in the last decade that have been on beta-blockers.''

Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson said he knew of only one case of a golfer taking drugs.

"The American Tommy Bolt had a ferocious temper and was prone to outbursts during a round,'' Thomson said. "So he took valium to calm himself down.

"I asked him one day how the pills were going and he said 'great. I'm still three-putting but I don't give a damn anymore.' "

Unlike steroids or EPO, beta-blockers are not on the International Olympic Committee's list of banned substances, but are classed as a restricted substance.

Beta-blockers are easily detectable in urine tests and have been for several years. Of the 28 Olympic sports, only shooting and archery test for it regularly.

Golfer Nick Price has admitted taking beta-blockers for his health. Their calming effect could help golfers in the closing stages of a tournament.

 

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