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Nick Price fears future drug problems for golf

Former world number one Nick Price warned on Thursday that the emphasis on strength in golf could lead to the use of performance-enhancing drugs among younger players.

Zimbabwean Price, who is a noted vocal opponent of the technological advances in the sport, expressed concern that desperate players seeking an edge could ruin the good image of the game.

"I don't think there is currently drug testing in golf, but the way some of the guys hit the ball now, some of the younger guys may be tempted to go on steroids," Price, winner of the Open Championship in 1994, told reporters before the first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

"That is a possibility because if you put an emphasis on strength in the game, to find that edge some of the guys might turn to drugs.

"I'm not saying that guys are using drugs, but the way the game is leaning we leave ourselves open to that danger -- these are interesting times."

Price, who has won three majors and 18 tournaments on the U.S. PGA Tour, blames the changes in technology for driving players to put all their emphasis on strength.

"The equipment has made a lot of mediocre players good players," the 47-year-old added.

"Your best players will always rise to the top irrespective of what equipment they use -- but it is the middle pack.

"Tiger (Woods) should be more outspoken about it because it has hurt him more than anyone else. There is nothing wrong with the equipment he is using, believe me, but he has lost his edge because the guys have equipment that has helped them catch up to him.

"There is a very fine line in this sport. The difference between a guy who is going to shoot 15 or 16-under and the guy who shoots eight-under is small.

"If you have equipment to help you and give you the edge it makes it easier. Hitting nine iron second shots into par-fives is really hurting the game.

"I'm worried that golf will end up like tennis, where it is all about power and not finesse."

Price has cut back his travelling and playing schedule to spend more time with his family and said that he was battling to compete.

"There are probably eight to 10 courses I feel I can still win on in America if I play well, but unfortunately these courses are becoming fewer and far between," he said.

"What is tough is that all the premier events are being played on courses that are too long for me now, I can go and shoot 12-under but that won't win."

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