"Golfers, in my view, are essentially addicts."

The Independent's Dermot Gileece talked to Dr. Conor O'Brien, "a five-handicap member of Portmarnock GC and an acknowledged expert" on steroids, eliciting these interesting comments:

"I have to say that looking at certain, current golfers, I'm left with a doubt regarding possible drug abuse, based purely on their physical shape. Just as I would have doubts about certain athletes."

He continued: "There are exceptional individuals in golf such as Tiger Woods and John Daly who have a God-given ability to generate remarkable clubhead speed. Give them a banjo and they'd still be able to hit the ball further than most of us.

"But the fundamentals in golf have changed and we must acknowledge that tournament players are now golfing athletes. Which means you're going to try and ensure that the other guy doesn't have an edge. And while drugs will not make an average golfer great, getting your muscle-function improved by a tiny amount could make a significant difference to a player's scoring average.

"Golfers, in my view, are essentially addicts. The game is like a disease. And if a club player is prepared to mortgage his house for the newest magical driver, consider the temptations for a professional, with the huge sums of money at stake in tournaments these days."

So, what changes did he expect to see from the introduction of drug-testing?

"Where world records have become very thin on the ground in other sports after the introduction of testing, I think driving distances in golf may change," he replied. "Either way, I'm delighted golf has bitten the bullet. It shows a huge maturity in the sport and will protect it from losing credibility at the highest level. Which is what we all want."