As the world's top golfers are about to be subjected to more stringent drug testing in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Games, Rex Hoggard takes a comprehensive look at what players will experience.
The biggest changes: "Whereabouts Testing" that requires players to inform the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency where they will be for one hour a day, seven days a week.
USADA officials say a smartphone app will allow competitors to report their locations instantly, but the penalty for a missed test can be severe – three whereabouts testing “failures” will count as a positive test.
Also of note: blood testing. The only way to test HGH, the most likely substance that would be abused.
But regarding the PGA Tour's policy to date, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's Travis Tygart suggests the tour policy has loopholes.
“If you have the obligation to not give a sanction or to stick the file in the drawer and not go forward, I’m not in any way suggesting that’s what [the Tour] have done, but the policy allows for that. Without any accountability elsewhere it’s hard to know for sure,” Tygart told GolfChannel.com.
“We’ve certainly seen other high-profile sports, cycling in the past, where in ’99 with Lance Armstrong’s corticosteroid positive, that’s exactly what the sport did. After the report that just came out detailing that sad saga it was clear they did it because it was going to be harmful to them and to the sport.
“That’s the pressure and the tension that you have going back to the fox guarding the henhouse. It’s awfully difficult and in our experience impossible to both promote and police your sport because you have this inherent duty to make the brand look good and not have any bad news out there.”
Oh not our fox!