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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 July 2007, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Drugs chief wants testing in golf
Dick Pound
Pound says the USPGA has resisted a drug testing programme
World anti-doping chief Dick Pound says golf must adopt rigorous drug testing before a major scandal rocks the sport.

Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, backed Gary's Player's claim that performance-enhancing drugs are currently being used on the tour.

Pound told BBC Five Live: "I don't know how widespread it is as there is no testing at the moment.

"But key players and officials are telling me we need a policy in place before we have a major public problem."

Golf legend Player revealed this week he knew for certain that some players are abusing drugs on the professional circuit.

And Pound backed the 71-year-old South African's outburst, insisting: "That comes from one of the icons of golf, who has no particular axe to grind out there now, other than to try and maintain the integrity of the sport.

"So it's a wake up call that has not come in such stark terms to date from the golf community."

Pound revealed he has been contacted by key figures in the sport who are worried by the levels of drug abuse among top players.

He said: "Some are discreet, some say they know, some say they strongly suspect.

Golf is a game that has always prided itself on honesty and drug testing would be a way of demonstrating that what you say is true

Dick Pound

"The point is golf is a game that has always prided itself on honesty and testing would be a way of demonstrating that what you say is true."

Pound praised the European and Ladies Professional Tours for showing willingness to adopt testing but admits the USPGA has so far been reluctant to bring in its own policy.

He added: "The PGA said they didn't want their golfers lumped in with footballers, basketball players and hockey players, that there is no evidence of anything going on out there.

"But I've said: 'look, you should do this while you still have the initiative, rather being forced into it as a result of a scandal and have the whole of golf regarded with suspicion. Do it now before there is a big public problem.'

"The World Anti-Doping Agency would be delighted to work with the PGA to get a policy which is code compliant.

"We are more than ready as we are far more experienced in running drug testing programmes and protocol. We'd be happy to help golf with a significant and robust programme."

Pound believes beta-blockers, Human Growth Hormone and EPO are being used to enhance players' performance.

He added: "What testing will do is to deter those who might consider using drugs and scare away those who may have already started, then the problem may disappear."

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