Golf doping tests are a live issue, says R&A chief

GOLF’s anti-doping procedures, described as “disgraceful” by former Open champion Greg Norman, are “up for consideration”, it was revealed yesterday.
Greg Norman. Picture: GettyGreg Norman. Picture: Getty
Greg Norman. Picture: Getty

Norman has hit out at golf claiming to be clean at a time when Vijay Singh is being investigated after admitting he has used deer antler spray, which contains a muscle-building hormone banned by the PGA Tour.

The presence of the substance would only show up in a blood test and, at the moment, only urine testing is carried out by golf’s professional tours.

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“You only have to look at what happened to Vijay Singh to know the drugs issue is there,” Norman told The Australian newspaper. “How deep it is (the problem), I have no idea because we only do urine analysis instead of blood testing.

“If you want to be serious and find what’s really going on, we need to do blood testing. I think it’s disgraceful. The golf associations have to get together and step it up.

“It’s a pin prick for a player and you find out what’s going on. If you’re the head of golf or any sport, it’s your responsibility to make sure your sport is clean.”

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, who has played a prominent role in drug testing being introduced in golf, responded to Norman’s comments during yesterday’s Open Championship media day at Muirfield.

“I can’t speak from the Tour’s position on this and week-in, week-out it’s the tours who are administering drug-testing,” he said. “As far as Olympic golf is concerned, when the players come under the International Golf Federation policy that will be a different story.

“We have a medical team working at the IGF now looking at golf’s testing regime and coming up with recommendations for what’s going to happen pre-Olympic Games. So the issue of blood testing is up for consideration at the moment.”