Players to be schooled on Games' anti-doping policy

Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:28pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Golfers who are policed by an anti-doping code on the PGA Tour that is viewed by critics as too opaque will have to adapt to a much more transparent program if they qualify to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Unlike the International Golf Federation (IGF), which will administer golf's reappearance as an Olympic sport after an absence of more than a century, the PGA Tour is not a signatory to the code implemented by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Consequently, players who hope to represent their countries at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games will have to be educated on the significant differences between the PGA Tour's policy and its prohibited list of substances versus that promulgated by WADA.

"What's going to be key is a full understanding of the differences, how that impacts a clean player and making sure a clean player has an opportunity to be successful," United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) chief Travis Tygart told Reuters.

"The WADA code has things like the beta-2s (agonists that are used to treat asthma and other pulmonary disorders) that are going to be different than what the current (PGA Tour) list looks like.

"So we are going to have a full and fruitful opportunity to educate those athletes that may fall under our jurisdiction, just like we do with the NBA (National Basketball Association) players who come in to play in the Olympics."

That 'schooling' of players bidding to make it to Rio for the 2016 Games will not be restricted to the United States.

"The IGF is already working with the Tours (PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA etc) to educate players on the IGF anti-doping policy," an IGF spokesman told Reuters. "This activity will continue and increase as we get closer to Rio 2016."   Continued...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods waits to putt on the fifth green during third round play at the Buick Invitational Golf Tournament on the south course at Torrey Pines in San Diego January 26, 2008.  REUTERS/Mike Blake