CARNOUSTIE, Scotland (AP) — The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency supports Gary Player’s claims that some golfers take drugs and criticized the PGA Tour for refusing to acknowledge there may be a problem.
Player said just before the start of the British Open that he knew of at least one player who took a performance-enhancing substance, and WADA chief Dick Pound thinks his comments are valid.
“That is certainly my suspicion, and Gary Player says he knows, so that’s fairly powerful medicine from somebody who has only the integrity of the game at heart,” Pound told BBC radio Sunday.
“It comes from one of the icons of golf who has no particular ax to grind out there now, other than to try to maintain the integrity of the sport. It’s a wake-up call that has not come in such stark terms to date from the golf community. I don’t know how widespread it is because there is no testing.”
Although the women’s tour in the United States will start testing next season, no timetable has been set by the major groups in the men’s game. Both the PGA Tour in America and the European Tour have said they are in favor of introducing drug testing in 2008, but have yet to formulate a procedure.
Pound said WADA had talks with the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews Ã¢â‚¬” the sport’s ruling body outside of the United States Ã¢â‚¬” but suggests the PGA Tour should be more proactive.
“I have said: ‘Look, this is your opportunity to lead, not to be forced to follow, so get on with it. The time is now. You should do this while you still have the initiative, rather than being forced into it as the result of a scandal. Then you are going to have the whole of golf regarded with suspicion. Do it now before there’s a big public problem,”‘ Pound said.