PGA Tour to start blood testing next season

PGA Tour set to introduce new doping programme

PGA Tour set to introduce new doping programme

The PGA Tour is beefing up its anti-doping policy by adding blood testing and bringing its list of banned substances in line with the World Anti-Doping Association.

Along with blood testing, the PGA Tour will revise its list of banned substances to that of the World Anti-Doping Agency, per the AP (h/t USA Today).

The Tour now tests players via urine, and while that will remain the "predominant method", players will also be subjected to blood testing beginning with the 2017-18 season that kicks off in October. Certain substances, including Human Growth Hormone, can not be detected in urine but would show up in blood testing. In addition to all of these technical changes, the tour will also announce suspensions for all substances next season, as opposed to the current system where only performance enhancing drug suspensions are announced.

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Now the Tour only discloses suspension information for violations related to performance-enhancing drugs, while other violations related to "conduct unbecoming a professional" were handled confidentially.

Reporting of suspensions related to violations of the Program for performance enhancing substances have been part of the TOUR's protocol since the inception of the Anti-Doping Program in 2008.

Levinson said blood testing also detects substances that are common in more high-endurance sports, such as cycling, but that the tour doesn't see them as applicable to a sport like golf. Recreational drugs fell under the tour's private "conduct unbecoming a professional" disciplinary policy. He said tour officials saw how the blood testing was administered and whether the actual testing affected performance.

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However, if players test positive for drugs of abuse, that won't be reported unless the player is actually suspended.

The TOUR will begin a comprehensive education program to ensure that all players understand the changes to the testing procedures, the Prohibited List and the adjudication process in advance of the 2017-18 season.

The PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program was established in 2008 after discussions with numerous world's foremost authorities in the anti-doping field, including representatives from WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). This included blood testing and whereabouts (at home) testing.

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