Date: July 19, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes @ St Andrews

Golf ‘should adopt WADA code’

Olympic boss Thomas Bach has urged the US PGA Tour to adopt WADA’s drug policy.

Speaking during The Open Championship in Scotland, the International Olympic Committee president reiterated that next year’s Olympic golfers would be subject to the same in-competition testing as all other athletes in Rio.

But Bach expressed his desire that professional bodies, particularly in the United States, adopt the World Anti Doping Authority’s code uniformly.

“Prior to the Games and from now on, I can only encourage the PGA Tour to follow the WADA code, and finally to accept the WADA code and be compliant,” he said.

“(It’s) so that you have (a) harmonised anti-doping regime there for all the golf players and that you have an equal level of playing field for all the golfers.

“(For Rio), it is clear that the athletes (golfers) will have to accept the Olympic standards during the next year prior to the Games, and of course during the Games.

“That means, for instance, that during the Games the first five (placegetters in men’s and women’s competitions) will be tested on top of the random testing and the targeted testing during the Olympic period.

“They all have to accept it.”

Bach said he expected 60 men and 60 women to compete in Brazil for golf’s return to the Olympic family for the first time since St Louis in 1904.

“I guess we will have more than 40 different national Olympic committees (competing) and this shows that golf is really spreading worldwide,” Bach said.

“This was the major reason for the IOC to have golf on the Olympic program.”

The German said golf had a great chance to expand its reach.

“To have good sport among the best athletes of the world, of course it would help golf, and I think this is what the Olympic tournament is about for golf, to get good worldwide distribution,” he said.

“It's a unique opportunity to promote golf on a real worldwide scale.

“You will have golf in more than 200 countries in the world, in every country in the world. You will have billions of TV viewers, and therefore I think it would be good if you would have not only as many players from as many different national Olympic committees being qualified, but also broad distribution of medals and rankings.”

Bach dismissed quickly the question that sports such as golf that have other more historical and revered championships had limited Olympic appeal.

“Let them make the experience and then ask the gold medallist after he or she has been standing on the podium listening to the anthem and being celebrated by the world, then (they) will give you the answer.”