The World Anti-Doping Agency released its second annual 2014 Anti-Doping Rule Violations Report on Wednesday, revealing a total of six violations from International Golf Federation-sanctioned events around the world.
Golfers from France, Italy, South Korea and South Africa were sanctioned for unspecified violations of World Anti-Doping Code, of which the IGF, the organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the official world governing body for golf, is a signatory.
The PGA Tour, it should be noted, does not fall under WADA’s mandate, so none of those samples could have originated from Tour-administered tests.
Italy was the biggest offender, with three golfers sanctioned, two of whom tested positive for a prohibited substance and a third who was caught through non-analytical means.
WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said those numbers reflect a shift in the organization’s strategy.
“The report shows us that as well as sanctions derived from urine and blood testing, there are a significant number of ‘evidence-based intelligence’ rule violations,” Nichols said. “This goes to show that we no longer just rely on scientific testing in anti-doping, and there is an increasing number of ways for dopers to be caught. This sends a strong message to those contemplating doping.”
Of 507 samples analyzed, WADA identified eight “adverse analytical findings,” and only one of those athletes was determined to have a valid therapeutic use exemption. Two more were listed as “no cases to answer,” a designation indicating that those cases were ultimately dropped.
Those figures increased from the previous year. In 2013, only one golfer from Colombia was sanctioned.
On May 6, 13 weeks before golf returns to the Olympics at the Rio Games, potential competitors will be subject to more stringent drug-testing protocols than the ones adopted by the PGA Tour in 2008.
IGF vice president Ty Votaw declined to comment on the specifics of the report but managed to find the silver lining in its findings, calling it a “validation of our testing procedures.”