Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Banned Substances

Last Wednesday, the LPGA released its list of prohibited substances for its drug-testing program that will commence in 2008. As I stated a few months ago, getting the list out to the players several months before testing begins gives them time to make sure their houses are in order. The entire list is located here.

Mulligan Stu pointed out in the Waggle Room, human growth hormone (HGH) is not on the list despite its current status in the PED world. He quotes an LPGA official as saying “we don’t have any evidence that HGH is a problem in women’s professional golf” as the reason for its exclusion. WTF? Since you haven’t started testing yet, you don’t have any evidence that testosterone, cocaine or methamphetamine are a problem either and they ARE on the list. I hope this “official” statement isn’t indicative of the kind of logic this anti-drug program is going to be based on.

There is one other thing I’d like to point out. Way down near the bottom of the page, they ban the use of Cannabinoids - specifically marijuana - “which are considered to be performance enhancing when administered to induce a perceived calming effect”. So where are morphine, Quaaludes and heroin? They’ve been known to calm a body down. Tieing one off might be a good way to cure that yipping putter. Seriously though, while I comprehend their reasoning on banning stimulants like cocaine, seeing these “recreational” drugs listed erodes the idea that this testing program is being implemented for purely competitive reasons.

I’m still defending PED testing as an appropriate policy in women’s (and men’s) golf, but the first few steps the LPGA has taken to implement it pokes a pinhole or two in that defense.

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