Leave it to the sport that likely suffers the least from doping, to develop the toughest measures on steroid and PED use. The PGA announced yesterday a get-tough policy on the
rampant questionable use of PEDs in golf.
Long thought to be clean, PGA-great Gary Player indicted pro golfers last summer in a mini-controversy about alleged steroid use. There is little evidence of PEDs in golf, although golfers could theoretically benefit from beta-blockers to steady putting, stimulants to improve concentration, and even anabolic steroids to increase muscular power.
Apparently with the endorsements of top pros like Tiger Woods, PGA commissioner Tim Finchem announced the plan, with very tough penalties. Beware John Daly! To the New York Daily News for this one:
Commissioner Tim Finchem, in a memo to the membership released yesterday, said testing could begin as early as July (after two of golf's four majors) with the player education program to begin next month. An anti-doping manual is to be delivered to players in December containing a "comprehensive" list of banned substances that range from steroids and human growth hormone to beta blockers and diuretics. Testing will be random, it appears, and not mandatory at every event.
Although players may appeal positive results and request waivers for medical reasons, the sanctions will be harsh, starting with disqualification. A first-time violation will bring ineligibility for up to one year, a second up to five years and a third up to a lifetime ban. Fines of up to $500,000 will be included. For abuse of recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, the commissioner will have the "discretion" to require treatment and rehabilitation. Narcotics are included on the banned list.
Considering most athletes appear to be exposed through criminal investigations, and not by anti-doping tests, we wonder the stipulations on who would be considered a positive doper or what constitutes an offense against the policy.
The PGA should be commended for attempting to develop a comprehensive plan to keep the sport clean. Golf prides itself on a long history of honesty and honor. It appears the effort to develop an anti-doping stance continues that tradition. We wonder how this policy would effect more dirty sports like the MLB and the NFL?
But for now, watch out Billy Casper; your days of juicing are over...