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Drug testing a year old with no positives

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was the first to be tested for drugs under its anti-doping policy that began last year at the AT&T National. Tim Clark was the first player to be tested.

One year and more than a thousand random samples later, Finchem says the tour remains clean.

“There have been no suspensions because of doping,” Finchem said Wednesday. “It’s not going to surprise me if we have some issue, but I think what’s clear is we do not have a doping problem. Having an issue or two as we go forward does not mean we’re having a problem. It could mean a lot of things. But — knock on wood—we’re very pleased at this point in time.”

Under the anti-doping policy, the tour is required to notify the media if a player tests positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Finchem declined to say, however, if anyone has tested positive for a recreational drug, such as marijuana.

While such drugs are covered under the policy, the tour treats that as “conduct unbecoming a professional” and would not make any positive tests public.

“I said we have had not positive tests with respect to performance enhancing,” he said. “We may have had some test results that trouble us in other areas that we treat in a different bucket. But we don’t publicize those.

“We may in those instances—I’m not saying this has happened or not, I’m just saying what the process is—consider it conduct unbecoming, and what are our choices? We can suspend a player, we can fine a player, we can do both of those and put a player into treatment. We could also add to that regular treatment.”

He asked to confirm if anyone has tested positive for recreational drugs.

“I wouldn’t say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that,” he said. “I’ll say this—we don’t have a problem in that area.”

Finchem said the International Olympic Committee observed the tour’s drug-testing procedures earlier this year and was impressed. And while he says golf remains clean on the one-year anniversary of testing, he would not be surprised if that changed.

“I think when you’re dealing with hundreds of athletes, and things can get into your body, we may very well have problems,” Finchem said. “But at this point, not only do the players accept the rule, they put it on the same level as any other rule of golf. They work hard to understand what they need to be doing. They stay updated, and we’ve avoided problems.”

 

July 2, 2009




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