With every other sport in the world having allegations of participants using performance enhancing drugs, I guess it wasn’t going to be too long until the PGA Tour had to face the same train of thought. Though there hasn’t been any players on the tour, that I have heard about or know of, that have publicly been ousted for using performance enhancing drugs, I am sure there has been locker room conversation about particular players that do. With players hitting the ball farther today then ever, one has to wonder how much of it is pure strength from exercise, better technology, better golf swing form, better diet, or it could be the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Tim Finchem had this to say recently:
“We believe now that we’ll complete work on a policy this year, and the elements of the policy could very well be executed during ’08”
The PGA Tour has been under increasing pressure to implement a policy, most likely just to conform with other sports that have similar policies. Finchem said the following in 2006.
“I don’t think we’re naive,” Finchem said at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. “I think we’re very aggressive in having the capability to do whatever is necessary. But we need more than somebody just saying, ‘Why don’t you go test and make sure?”‘…
“I don’t know of other sports where players have made a mistake on their scorecard or called a penalty on themselves that has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. “That happens every year on the PGA Tour. I’m not prepared to throw all that out just because somebody is waving their hand and saying, ‘Gee whiz, all the other sports are testing; why aren’t you?”‘
I personally feel a drug testing program is a good thing to have in place, especially since our world is not the as it was 10 years ago. With the cream of the crop type of player leading the pack, those left behind often will go the extra lengths to stay competitive. Tiger Woods, for example, has set the bar “extremely” high for his playing competitors to stay up with him in tournaments. Some will choose to practice longer and harder, whereas others will try a shortcut in their fitness regime by taking anabolic steroids. Do I believe there are players on tour who utilize particular drugs to enhance their fitness and strength levels. Absolutely. That doesn’t mean the drugs fall on the “banned” list the PGA Tour will be coming up with, but with so much focus on fitness in today’s world and the easy access to GNC for things like Creatine or various muscle enhancing shakes/powders, it wouldn’t surprise me if a long list of players are on that “fine line” of taking healthy supplements or crossing over into the illegal substances.
However, out of ALL sports on the planet, I truly believe Golf is one of the last sports one needs to worry about with players pumping steroids into their system just to “get the edge”.
So the drug policy will be a good implementation and will, in my opinion, keep the already honest players from doing anything stupid with their fitness lifestyle.