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R&A to start drug testing

The Royal & Ancient (R&A) will carry out drug testing at a tournament for the first time at the world amateur team championship in South Africa later this year, officials said on Wednesday.

"We are, if you like, cutting out teeth on making sure we can administer that properly as our first step," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson told reporters on the eve of the British Open.

The R&A, which governs the game in all countries except the United States and Mexico, has been under pressure to start testing players for drugs at the British Open.

It had previously published a drug policy but said it was only "advisory".

Dawson hinted that the introduction of drug testing at the world amateur team championship, more popularly known as the Eisenhower Trophy, in Cape Town in October, could be the start of a new anti-doping policy in world golf.

"It is a rehearsal," he said. "I don't know when you are going to see drug testing in professional golf around the world but we would support it.

"We do support the introduction of drug-testing in golf, just as we would do in any other sport. We would be anxious to keep the sport free of it."

Dawson, however, acknowledged it was tough to produce an effective anti-doping code in golf.

"These elite players are playing all around the world 52 weeks a year so it is extremely important the game, the administration of the game as a whole, professional and elite amateur, introduces drug policies if not totally together, then close together," he said.

"The thought that one event in one weekend in 52 can effectively do this, I think, is not practical."



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