Two trusted readers responded in emails to my post a few weeks back asking about the "risks" of drug testing. They said that false-positives or positive results for substances prescribed by a doctor were the danger of drug testing in golf. I respect their opinions and agree that it is risk #1, what I never quite understand is why the policies in place seem to fail to take into account the athlete's current medical care situation.
Possible case in point, from reader Hawkeye:
Italian golfer Alessandro Pissilli has been suspended after failing a drug test, the Italian Olympic Committee said Wednesday.
Pissilli, who plays on the Italian pro tour, tested positive for the banned diuretic Finasteride at the Omnium National Championship on June 29.
Pissilli has been suspended by the Italian Golf Federation and could face a two-year ban if found guilty of a doping violation.
His local golf club in Florence released a statement later Wednesday, defending him and saying that he had informed authorities at the time of the test that he had taken the drug for almost two years to treat a prostate problem.
And here's where the false-positive debate has merit:
Finasteride is also used to treat hair loss but can mask steroid use, and has been at the center of several recent doping cases.
Yikes, talk about a potential nightmare for the Champions Tour! Sorry...
American skeleton slider Zach Lund missed the 2006 Turin Olympics because of a one-year doping suspension triggered by his use of the drug. He was later cleared of wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
I know there is much more here than meets the eye, but it just seems odd that so many of these cases come up where an athlete was taking something for a legitimate reason and yet somehow that was not clarified or dealt with privately before a publicly embarrassing test result and suspension.