IOC chief urges US golf tour to fall in line with WADA
ST ANDREWS, Scotland – Golf was urged to fully adhere to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code on Saturday by the IOC president who also said players must accept Olympic-standard testing in the build-up to Rio 2016.
Next year’s Games in Brazil will see golf return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
The U.S. PGA Tour runs its own anti-doping programme but is not fully compliant with the WADA code.
“The athletes…will have to accept the Olympic standards during the next year prior to the Games and of course during the Games the first five will be tested on top of the random-testing and the targeted-testing during the Olympic period,” Thomas Bach told a news conference at the 144th British Open.
“I can only encourage the PGA Tour to follow and finally accept the WADA code and to be compliant with this so you have a harmonised anti-doping regime there for all the golf players and you have a … level playing field for all golfers,” added the International Olympic Committee chief.
Asked whether golf could jeopardise its position at future Games, Bach said: “If WADA tell us the non-compliant test procedures of the PGA would have a negative impact on Olympic requirements then of course we’d have to take this into consideration”.
The PGA Tour worked with WADA to develop its anti-doping programme but critics say its policy is too opaque and should be more transparent.
The tour is alone among the major North American professional sports bodies in not disclosing fines or suspensions for misconduct.
In the event of a positive doping test, the tour says it will disclose details after the appeals and challenges process is complete although it is not required to do so in cases involving recreational drugs.
The International Golf Federation will begin an expanded drug-testing programme, including blood testing, 13 weeks ahead of the Olympics.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of one of golf’s custodians, the Royal and Ancient, said this week that the sport was moving towards wider compliance of the WADA code.
“We certainly can’t afford to be complacent and we must continue to test fully,” he said.