IOC chief urges U.S. golf tour to fall in line with WADA

Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:04am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

ST ANDREWS, Scotland, July 18 (Reuters) - 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 program 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 harmonized 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 jeopardize 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 program 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.   Continued...

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee talks during a news conference during the second round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, July 18, 2015.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh