PGA Tour to begin blood testing in 2017-18 season

Jeannette Daniel
June 21, 2017

The PGA Tour will begin blood testing next season as part of a tighter and more transparent anti-doping program announced Tuesday. Blood testing allows for the detection of human growth hormone, something that can not be detected through urine.

Players are now tested via urine and while that process will remain as the "predominant method", they will also be subjected to blood testing commencing in October for the start of the wraparound 2017/18 season.

The changes, which will take effect when the new season begins in October, will allow for the detection of Human Growth Hormone, which can not be found through urine samples.

Starting next season, any suspension for recreational or performance-enhancing drugs will be made public. Stallings never failed a drug test; rather, he became aware that the anabolic agent DHEA that a doctor advised him to take was on the banned list and turned himself in.

A fourth player, Vijay Singh, admitted to the use of Deer Antler Spray, which was on the banned list because it contained a synthetic hormone.

"So we felt for consistency's sake, it was time to move our list to the current WADA list", he said.

The case may be headed for trial later this year or early next year.

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Andy Levinson, the tour's senior vice president of tournament administration, told the Associated Press that the Tour made a decision to add blood testing after last year's Rio Olympic games when golf was added to the competition. However the PGA Tour did state that urine testing will remain the predominant form of testing used.

Blood testing will be added to the Anti-Doping Program as one of the TOUR's regular testing protocols, beginning next season.

The revised program will expand the Tour's list of banned substances to match that of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

But its banned list differed to the Wada code in three categories, relating to asthma medications, allergy and anti-inflammatory medications.

The tour has had a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) program, allowing players with medical conditions to use banned substances as prescribed by physicians and under the advisement of the TUE committee. Recreational drugs fell under the tour's private "conduct unbecoming a professional" disciplinary policy.

The tour says it will report any suspensions for drugs of abuse.

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