Donegan Follow Up On Drugs and Golf

Lawrence Donegan wrote this sidebar to go with his main piece on drug testing. In it he points out golf's love affair with its honor code, and yet its unwillingness to ensure that the integrity of the game is preserved.
For a sport that prides itself on being a bastion of honesty there is a glaring anomaly in golf's much-vaunted code of ethics. A player who deliberately moves a ball in the rough to improve a lie can be banned and will almost certainly be ostracised by his or her peers. Yet that same player can take a performance-enhancing drug such as human growth hormone and he or she will never face sanction or be exposed.

Almost uniquely in elite sport the vast majority of golf competitors are never tested and that will continue if some of the game's leading figures have their way. "We see no reason to jump into the testing arena without having any credible information that we have issues," Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, told the Guardian this year. Ernie Els was offended that testing might be necessary - "We are all natural!" - while Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, was dismissive when it was suggested the Open would be the perfect arena to get into line with the rest of the sporting world. "There is no particular evidence of drugs helping you in golf, and there is no particular evidence of anyone taking them," he said.

But the French federation's Muniesa argues that the reluctance to start reflects an arrogance. "Laws against drug abuse must be written into the rules of the game. Players are penalised when they hit a ball out of bounds, and it should be the same when they use performance-enhancing drugs."
If golf can pat itself for handling the "inexorable" (David Fay's word) movement to address gender reassigned athletes so that the sport is in compliance with IOC rules, why doesn't performance enhancing drug testing share a similar inexorable fate?