When it comes to doping and athletes, less attention is paid to golfers, if any. Many people ask or wonder if golfers use or need performance-enhancing drugs. The PGA Tour added blood testing to its anti-doping policy sometime back. It caught many golfers, if not all, in a frenzy trying to find a guaranteed way to a pass drug test. So, if you still wonder if golfers dope, why the blood tests?
The Issue with Doping in Golf
For many years, golf is one of the few sports that ARE believed to be an anti-doping sport unlike a majority of the other sports. It is probably the reason why the PGA Tour in 2008 introduced its anti-doping program to confirm its status as a doping-free sport.
The program was successful for a long time, with only a few low-profile violations with a majority being innocent violations. However, since the program took effect, only urine tests have been used for doping tests. Urine tests detect the use of many drugs but not all performance-enhancing drugs.
Experts predict that the most likely drug a golfer would use the human growth hormone (HGH)to enhance his performance. Sadly, a urine test alone cant detect HGH.
This might be the reason why in June 2017, the tour announced that it would begin blood tests for the 2017-2018 season. The tour also brought on board a list of all banned substances as required by the World Anti-Doping Association.
How they Managed to Solve this Issue
Blood tests make it possible to detect the use of HGH which is a banned substance that cannot be detected through a urine test. Urine tests will still be used, although they do not cover some drugs. In the revised PGA drug test program, players will each undergo four tests in a tour: three urine tests and one blood test.
The Tour does not disclose the exact time of a test for banned substances. Policies on anti-doping give the PGA Tour the authority to carry out drug tests randomly. Whether it is after or before a tournament or even when a player is not competing, the body is there to test a player. However, it is rare for anti-doping agencies to carry out tests on players who are not actively competing in a tournament at the particular time.
After the drug tests, the PGA Tour will report any incident of suspension due to use of a banned substance. This is according to the current policy on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The blood tests take about twenty minutes, and the samples are sent to a lab approved by WADA. The samples are kept in the lab for a minimum of two years.
The introduction of blood tests in the PGA drug test in golf has attracted some growing pains. However, many agree it is about time golf introduced a complete drug test program.
If you are a golfer, amateur or professional, you can look into how to pass a drug test to stay on the right side of the law and save your career from an early, shameful exit.