LPGA to Start Random Drug Testing

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The LPGA Tour on Wednesday released its policy for drug testing that will start next season, making it the first professional golf organization to require randomly selected players to prove they are clean.
 
The policy is similar to the outline released a day earlier by the PGA TOUR, which will not start testing its players until July.
 
The LPGA will suspend players one year for a first positive test, two years for the second offense and a lifetime ban for any more violations. It will not discriminate between performance-enhancing drugs and recreational drugs.
 
'My hope is that we don't have any positive tests,' LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said.
 
The LPGA first announced plans for a drug testing program last November at the ADT Championship, giving it one year to pull together a plan. It relied heavily on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances, eliminating some drugs such as allergy medicines that it felt should not apply to golf.
 
The LPGA Tour used the National Center for Drug Free Sport as a consultant while developing its plan, but it has not decided who will administer its drug testing.
 
Jill Pilgrim, the LPGA's general counsel who will be in charge of the program, said the tour will insist that results of drug tests be available within seven to 10 days.
 
'This is all about competitive equity,' Pilgrim said.
 
She also said the LPGA wanted a program that was easy to administer to make sure that every player is treated equally. If there is a positive test, players can be asked that their 'B' sample be tested to confirm the result, and they will be offered an appeal process.
 
For positive tests, Pilgrim said the LPGA Tour would disclose the name of the player, the tournament at which she tested positive, the penalty and the specific substance involved.
 
There were no guarantees that every player would be tested this year, and Pilgrim said the tour would not even disclose which tournaments would be selected for the random tests. But she said all testing would take place at tournaments immediately after competitive rounds.
 
'We do reserve the right to do target testing if we so choose, but a truly efficient and effective program, I think, has to do it randomly,' she said.
 
Pilgrim, who joined the LPGA Tour in January, previously worked eight years as general counsel and director of business affairs for USA Track & Field, where she worked on its Anti-Doping Task Force. The LPGA said she has published numerous legal articles on sports law, drug testing procedures and Olympic Games arbitration.
 
Other details of the LPGA Tour plan:
 
  • If a winner tests positive, she will be treated like a disqualification. The runner-up will be declared the winner, and in case of a tie, the LPGA will award the victory to whoever had the lowest final round. If it's the same score, the tie will be broken by using whoever had the best hole starting on No. 18 and going backward.
     
  • For two-year suspensions, a player can only regain membership by essentially starting over. That means either a return to Q-school or getting sponsor exemptions.
     
  • Any player who receives two doping-related suspensions will be ineligible for the Hall of Fame.
     
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - ADT Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

    Getty Images

    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm