Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club

The Loop

Golf and Drugs

April 30, 2008

The subject of drugs and drug-testing, subject of recent reports by Matt Rudy for Golf Digest and Ron Sirak for Golf World, came up again Tuesday at Peter Dawson's press conference--where Dawson announced that the R&A would not begin testing at this year's British. This followed the recent announcement by the Tour that it would postpone testing for a year. For interesting give and take on the question, see Geoff Shackelford today. But the spiciest thing to come of this week's announcement was Lawrence Donegan's Guardian blog entitled "Time for golf to stop being so naive":


Professional golfers take drugs. I know this because drug use is pervasive in society as a whole and professional golfers are part of that wider society. I know it because I have heard numerous tales about golfers using drugs. But mostly I know it because I once saw a professional golfer smoke a joint on the course during a European tour event - the Dutch Open, wouldn't you just know.

So when the endless litany of self-deluded authority figures in the game step up to the microphone to declare there are no drugs in golf, it is fair to assume they are talking codswallop. Eventually, the absurdity of what these authority figures were saying dawned on those who were saying it and they conceded that golf would have to come into line with other sports and introduce drug testing.

Hang on. I got the part about self-deluded, but did you say something about a doobie at the Dutch?

Which brings us to the question of what drugs should be tested for, a theme of the Golf World report, and a question close to the heart of the players. As in other sports, there's not consensus on which drugs enhance and which just, well, get you through. (Can you imagine if they tested for marijuana in the NBA?) For now recreation drugs are on the list. But will they stay there?

--Bob Carney