Several Golfers Say They Have Never Been Drug Tested Away From Tournament Site
Tiger Woods yesterday said that he had never been drug tested by the PGA Tour “away from a tournament site,” according to Karen Crouse of the N.Y. TIMES. Woods said that the “only time he has been tested outside of competition” was at the '08 Chevron World Challenge, the year the Tour’s antidoping policy was instituted. He hosted the tourney but "did not play in it because he was recovering from knee surgery.” Referring to being tested away from a tournament site, Woods said, “I know guys who have, but I have not.” Crouse notes the Tour’s antidoping program states that players “can be tested in and out of tournament competition.” PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw insisted that the Tour “conducted tests on and off tournament sites,” though he did not provide details. Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els all have indicated that they also have "never been tested away from a tournament site.” Votaw: “WADA accepts out-of-competition testing as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and we have done that.” Out-of-competition testing is “considered important because it provides a deterrent to athletes who might want to take banned substances to aid their recovery from hard training or an injury.” Golfer Stuart Appleby said, “If they have the ability to test outside of competition, the question is, have you exercised the option? If they’re not doing it or not disclosing it, is there a reason behind it?” Golfer Bob Estes added, “I don’t think they anticipated anybody would have admitted using a performance-enhancing drug. I don’t want to say they’re hiding behind the policy, I just don’t think they anticipated ever having this problem” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/20).
WEIGHING IN: McIlroy yesterday indicated that Vijay Singh “should be punished, in some manner," for his recent admission to using deer-antler spray, which is banned by the Tour. However, GOLFCHANNEL.com's Ryan Lavner noted McIlroy "doesn’t think that performance-enhancers really help a golfer excel on the course.” McIlroy said, “Golf is built on integrity. I think it was an honest mistake. Of course if you take something, you’ve got to be penalized in some way because you might be getting an unfair advantage against the field. But I think golf is clean. I don’t see how any real performance-enhancing drugs can actually help. ... I don’t see any sort of drug out there that could really help a golfer across the board” (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 2/19).