Greg Norman Calls On Golf To Introduce Biological Passports
Greg Norman has called for golf to introduce biological passports in an effort to eradicate drug cheats from the sport.
The two-time British Open champion’s comments come in the wake of the US PGA Tour’s Monday announcement of an overhaul of its anti-doping program from the 2018 season, which kicks off in October.
The Tour will introduce blood testing, the only way to detect some substances including Human Growth Hormone, to complement existing urine tests and will also publicly disclose suspensions for recreational drug violations.
Currently, the Tour only discloses suspension information for violations related to performance-enhancing drugs.
While 62-year-old Norman applauded the Tour’s stance, he believes the World Anti-Doping Agency’s biological passport program is the way forward for golf and other sports.
The passports monitor selected biological variables over time, including blood and steroid modules, which indirectly reveal the effects of doping rather than attempting to detect the doping substance, or method, itself.
“The addition of blood testing to the Tour’s anti-doping program to comply with WADA is finally a positive move to ensure golf is clean,” Norman told AAP. “Golf is a pure sport and the Tour has to be firm with a zero-tolerance policy. I have worked with WADA over the years and the next step is biological passports for all athletes — amateurs and pros. I am a big proponent of these passports.”
Such a move would bring golf in line with cycling, which introduced the passports in 2008, as well as track and field.
Football’s governing body FIFA also tested players prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with the intention of creating blood and urine profiles. Norman says starting at high school level is the key to rolling out the system smoothly.
“With the potential to revolutionise anti-doping, these biological passports should start at the high school level worldwide and continue for an athlete’s entire career,” Norman said.
“This would ensure consistent monitoring and screening with a zero-tolerance policy and a lifetime ban for any athlete caught cheating or doping.”
The PGA Tour will also revise its list of banned substances to include “all of the substances and methods” currently prohibited by WADA while adding three new categories of medication to its “therapeutic use exemption” list. The Tour’s current anti-doping program was created in 2008.