Daly rips Tour drug testing: Not random, 'a big joke'

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PALM HARBOR, Fla. – John Daly gets drug tested by the PGA Tour ... a lot.

In related news, the sun rose in the east.

On Tuesday during his SiriusXM radio show, “Hit It Hard with John Daly,” the five-time Tour winner called the circuit’s drug testing program “a big joke.”

Among Daly’s primary concerns with the circuit’s anti-doping program was the idea that testing is random.

“This’ll be the fifth or sixth year in a row I’m going to get drug tested [at this week’s Valspar Championship],” Daly said. “It’s not random; it’s a big joke. This whole drug testing is a joke.”

Daly went on to explain that potential doping cheats have “got it made,” because of the lack of randomness of testing, and that the Tour doesn’t take testing seriously like Major League Baseball or the NFL.

While there are plenty of issues with the Tour’s anti-doping program, primarily a lack of transparency and a viable test for human growth hormone, random testing has never been a primary concern.


Listen to a clip of Daly's rant (warning: adult language)


Each week the Tour’s drug testing staff gathers near the scoring trailer and picks off players as they finish their rounds. Last Thursday at Doral, for example, Phil Mickelson was pulled after an opening 74, while J.B. Holmes, who opened with an all-world 62, was not.

Primarily testing appears random, and while the Tour is reluctant to give details, sources have said it’s the circuit’s goal to test each player twice a year.

To Daly’s point, however, there do seem to be some glaring exceptions to the Tour’s random testing protocol.

In 2009, Doug Barron became the first player suspended for violating the circuit’s anti-doping policy. In ’09, Barron played just one Tour event, the St. Jude Classic, where he was tested. That Barron had requested a therapeutic use exemption earlier that season to take testosterone is a compelling indication that not all testing is created equal.

The idea that the Tour would use some sort of “profiling” in its testing is neither surprising nor unexpected.

The idea that Daly – who, according to a 2010 Tour report that was released in court records, had been fined nearly $100,000, suspended five times and put on probation six times – would draw additional scrutiny is also hardly a surprise.

A broader concern for the Tour is likely an inherent lack of transparency with its anti-doping program, primarily the circuit’s decision to not disclose suspensions from violations stemming from recreational drug use.

On Sunday at Doral, commissioner Tim Finchem acknowledged as much. “That’s the one area that gives us some trouble from time to time,” he said.

Or, put another way, the Tour has 99 problems; testing Daly, or any other player with a Tour file that spanned some 456 pages in 2010, on regular basis isn’t one of them.