New PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan has not been at the helm long, but implementing changes has come quickly.
The PGA TOUR has announced some revisions to their Anti-Doping Program, most notably the addition of blood testing. The TOUR says that urine testing will still be conducted and remain the most common testing method. Some substances, such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH) are only detectable by blood testing.
The PGA TOUR Policy Board has approved the new measures, which also include more alignment with World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The TOUR will enhance their prohibited list to fall in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List of Substances and Methods. And one critical change that will save a lot of speculation among golf fans – suspensions related to violations involving recreational drugs will now be reported.
“While we are extremely pleased with the implementation and results of the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program to date, we believe that these changes to our program are prudent in that they further our objectives of protecting the well-being of our members and better substantiate the integrity of golf as a clean sport,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan.
The TOUR established an anti-doping program in 2008 but the enhanced program falls more in line with that of an Olympic sport. It was confirmed recently that golf is approved for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and for the 2014 Games, for which a host location has not been selected.
Under the current PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program suspensions related to performance enhancing substances were reported but as of 2017, all violations, including those for recreational drugs, will be shared publicly.
The TOUR says that after the adjudication process is complete, they will issue a statement with the name of the player, whether the violation of the policy is for performance enhancing drugs or a “drug of abuse” and also provide the length of suspension.
That is a change from the current policy where violations for recreational drugs were handled under TOUR regulations for Conduct Unbecoming a Professional and kept confidential.
The changes to the TOUR policy will begin in the 2017-2018 and the TOUR says to get the players up to speed they will start an education program to help players better understand the new testing procedures, the Prohibited List, and the process that comes with the handling or disputing of results.