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USGA urges global drugs policy

USGA executive director David Fay always thought drug testing would be inevitable in golf because it is played in so many countries. He suggested Wednesday golf might be better off developing a policy that covers every organization.

"The real issue in drug testing, if you get right down to it, is are we going to have a code that is sport specific, or adopt the WADA code," Fay said at the U.S. Women's Open.

The World Anti-Doping Agency governs Olympic sports and has a long list of performance-enhancing drugs that are banned.

Those were the guidelines the USGA and R&A followed last year in South Africa at the World Amateur Team championship, which experimented with drug testing for the first time. All 12 samples from the amateur golfers came back negative.

The LPGA Tour said it will start drug testing next year, developing its policy through the National Center for Drug Free Sport, which manages testing programs for the NCAA and other organizations.

The European Tour hopes to have a drug policy as early as next year, while PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said he expects to have a list of banned substances by the end of this year.

Fay said every golf organization would work together to come up with one policy.

"What golf needs to do, and Tim mentioned it last week, is the leadership needs to come up with something as uniform as possible," Fay said. "It may be the people who sit on the World Golf Foundation are probably the people to do this."

Among those on the WGF are Finchem, Fay, PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka, LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, European Tour chief George O'Grady and Masters general manager Jim Armstrong.

Fay said the USGA would not take a leading role for drug testing in its 13 national championships, 10 of them for amateurs.

"The leading voice has to be the professional tours, because the professional tours have entertainers who people care about it," he said. "They want to know that Tiger and Annika are clean, that sort of thing. Whether they're interested in the U.S. Senior Amateur and what our guys are taking ... I don't know."

Even a uniform policy for golf might not matter. Fay said some governments, such as France, would still require their policies.

"But this is a global sport," he said. "Whatever we develop, the few varieties of anti-doping policies the better."

 

 




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